Guide to Living

Guide to Living

Any policy violation or failure to comply with any staff request may result in action by GS Housing and/or conduct proceedings with the GS Dean of Students Office and/or conduct proceedings with the Columbia University Office of Judicial Affairs.  







Air Conditioning

Most University Apartment Housing units do not have central air conditioning. For information on installing your own window unit, please refer to the memo you received when you signed your rental agreement or contact your building superintendent. 

Back to Top

Alcohol and Other Drugs

Please review the Columbia University Policy on Alcohol and Drugs.

Back to Top

Bed Bugs

Bed bug infestations have been steadily increasing in New York City once again, and infestations can occur in any type of apartment. If you think you may have bed bugs in your housing it is very important that you contact your Director of Residential Services immediately.

For further information on bed bugs, please review the Bed Bugs section of the UAH website.

Back to Top


Most tenants receive standard New York City apartment leases, and are billed monthly for their rent.

Student Financial Services provides the billing for all contract buildings. These charges are billed on a per-semester basis.

For further information, please review the Billing Schedule for Rent section of the UAH website. 

Back to Top

Cable Television

Most residents who wish to have cable TV service should contact Spectrum.

GS Students living at 600 West 113th Street must contact CUIT for cable TV service.

Back to Top

Cancellation Policy

For information on breaking your rental agreement, please visit the UAH website or contact UAH.

For further information, please review the Vacating Your UAH Unit section of the UAH website. 

Back to Top

Check-In and Check-Out

Moving In
Instructions regarding your appointment to sign a rental agreement are sent via email prior to your move-in day. For more information please see the UAH website.

Vacating Student Housing
If you intend to vacate your room or apartment, please provide notice to the UAH office at least 30 days prior to your planned vacancy date. A notice of vacancy may be submitted via the student housing portal. For more information on moving out, including penalties for breaking your rental agreement, please visit the UAH website or contact UAH.

For further information, please review the Vacating Your UAH Unit section of the UAH website. 

Back to Top

Cleanliness, Common Areas, and Usage

The common areas (living room, kitchen, bathroom, halls, studies, and extra closets, if any) are to be shared equally by all of the unit's residents. Common rooms may not be used for storage or for the exclusive use of one student/tenant. Each student should use his or her own telephone; a separate phone line is installed in each bedroom. Personal electronics kept in a student's bedroom will be less of a source of potential conflict than those kept in the common areas.

All roommates should make an effort to keep the common areas of the apartment clean, neat, and uncluttered. To avoid problems with vermin and insects, dishes should be washed immediately, and garbage should be removed daily. Students should clean up after themselves on a daily basis, and make a schedule of which roommate will do each large cleaning task (i.e., bathroom, kitchen, and sweeping) weekly. Each building has specific garbage and recycling procedures. Students with questions about specific procedures for their building, including maintenance in the apartment, should contact their superintendent.

For further information, please review the Guidelines for Sharing University Apartment Housing

Back to Top


Damages: The cost of repairing damages to your apartment or a neighboring apartment caused by neglect or misuse may be charged to your account.

For further information, please review the Charges for Repairs, Damages, and Lockouts section of the UAH website.

Back to Top


“Live” holiday decorations such as wreaths or Christmas trees are prohibited. 

Back to Top

Disruptive Behavior

No resident should engage in behavior that interferes with or compromises the personal safety or well-being of another. Behavior unsuitable for residence hall living, including, but not limited to, any practice that limits students’ rights of equal use and access to room/suite/hall facilities, is not permitted. Residents should not expose others to conduct that is disorderly, lewd, or indecent. Additionally, throwing anything from windows or balconies is prohibited.

As a tenant in the building, residents will not engage in objectionable conduct. Objectionable conduct means behavior which makes or will make the apartment or the building less fit to live in for you or other residents. It also means anything which interferes with the right of others to properly and peacefully enjoy their apartments, or causes conditions that are dangerous, hazardous, unsanitary, or detrimental to other tenants in the building. Objectionable conduct gives UAH the right to end your lease agreement.

Back to Top

Failure To Comply

Any policy violation or failure to comply with any staff request may result in action by GS Housing and/or conduct proceedings with the GS Dean of Students Office and/or the Columbia University Office of Judicial Affairs.  

Back to Top

Fire Safety

Placing false alarms, interfering with proper function of a fire alarm system or any other system device, or tampering with or removing fire hoses, extinguishers, or other safety equipment is prohibited.

Candles, incense, or other types of open flames are prohibited.

Back to Top

Furnishing, Fixtures, and Locks

Fixtures, appliances, and locks provided by the University may not be altered or removed by a resident, unless specific prior arrangements have been made with the University. The University reserves the right to limit the addition of use by residents of any furnishings, fixtures, appliances, or locks not provided by the University and to prohibit duplication of its keys by others. 

For more information, please review the Charges for Repairs, Damages , and Lockouts section of the UAH website. 

Back to Top

Guest Policy

Having guests creates a situation of overcrowding, and causes unnecessary stress to fellow tenants by increasing the noise factor and denying them fair use of common areas. Apartment shares are used to house single students only. Occasional overnight guests, staying for one or two nights, may be permissible if all roommates agree. Roommates should discuss the issue of guests and visitors and come to a common understanding and agreement. Spouses, partners, family members, and friends are strictly prohibited from sharing these accommodations with student tenants. Violation of this lease provision and UAH policy will result in termination of the lease and the student will no longer be eligible for University housing.

Students who would like to have visitors should discuss these plans with their roommate(s) well in advance.

For more information, please review the Guidelines for Sharing University Apartment Housing.

Back to Top

Information Postings

Feel free to reach out to the GS Resident Advisor to disseminate appropriate information to GS residents. For more information, please review the Resident Advisor page or email the Resident Advisor

Back to Top

Keys and Locks

The superintendent issues each tenant a complete set of keys to the building/apartment. Keys may not be duplicated.

During normal working hours, there is no charge for lockouts, provided lockouts do not happen frequently. After 4 p.m., a charge of $30 will be posted to the student's rent or Student Financial Services (SFS) account. This charge is based on the overtime cost, including fringe benefits and taxes that will be paid to the superintendent for working after hours. If the building staff does not have a copy of the student's key, or if staff members are not available, the student must call a locksmith and pay him or her directly.

For more information, please review the Charges for Repairs, Damages, and Lockouts section of the UAH website.

Back to Top

Lease Renewals

Lease renewals are automatically sent to residents by UAH provided that the student will be enrolled for the next academic semester.

  • Students who pay rent by the month should expect to receive their lease renewal forms in late April or early May.
  • Students who pay rent by semester will receive information on renewing their contract by mail in late April or early May. 

Students with questions about their lease or lease extension should contact a representative of the Leasing Department at or 212-854-9300. Students should indicate whether they are billed monthly (lease) or by term (contract) so that UAH may direct their request accordingly.

For more information, please review the Tenant Information section of the UAH website.

Back to Top

Maintenance Requests

Residents should promptly notify building personnel of any hazardous or other conditions in the building requiring repair or maintenance. For superintendent contact information, please refer to the Columbia University Facilities Information Sheet provided when the rental agreement was signed. Residential Services Work Order Requests are also available in the lobby of most buildings.

For off-hour emergency maintenance issues, students should call the Facilities Services Center at 212-854-2222.

Back to Top

Noise Policy

Excessive noise that disturbs other residents or neighbors is prohibited.

Students should discuss their working and sleeping hours with their roommate(s). All tenants have a right to a quiet room in which to study and rest.

Do not play loud music or watch television with high volume. We strongly recommend the use of headphones.

For information regarding the New York City noise laws, please review the Department of Environmental Protection's Noise Codes.

Back to Top


A resident may not paint or otherwise alter the assigned space unless written approval is obtained from the Operations Department of the Office of University Apartment Housing. 

Back to Top


Pets are strictly prohibited in UAH, except for service and assistance animals and pets kept in aquaria. Students with service and assistance animals must be registered with the Office of Disability Services.

For further information regarding service and assistance animals, please review the Service and Assistance Animal Policy.

Back to Top

Public Safety

Public Safety: (212) 854-2797
Emergency: (212) 854-5555

The University takes special measures to provide a secure living environment for all its residents. All UAH-owned buildings have superintendents residing either in or very near the building. The Columbia University Department of Public Safety instructs and oversees all building personnel on security and safety procedures, making Morningside Heights one of the safest neighborhoods in New York.

Columbia University's Department of Public Safety also provides car and foot patrols for the entire UAH area. They also maintain strategically situated guard kiosks and provide coverage for emergency call boxes located throughout the area. The Morningside Area Alliance, a community service organization founded by the major institutions in the Heights, provides additional security patrols. Evening and night shuttles as well as escort services to locations throughout the neighborhood are available to all Columbia students.

For more information, please review the Tenant Information section of the UAH website.

Back to Top


We encourage all residents to cooperate with Columbia's and New York City's recycling programs. Assistance in properly cleaning and separating recyclable material will allow building personnel to devote more time to other needed tasks and  helps keep buildings and neighborhoods cleaner. Residents are asked to separate all newspapers, magazines, corrugated cardboard, jars, bottles, and cans and to place them in the designated recycling area of their building.

Please keep in mind that recyclables are picked up by the Department of Sanitation only once per week. Rinsing jars, bottles, and cans before disposal will keep the building cleaner and help control vermin. Please tie up newspapers, magazines, and cardboard when putting them out for pickup.

For more information, please review the Tenant Information section of the UAH website.

Back to Top

Room Assignments and Room Transfers

For information on the transfer process, including eligibility and transfer periods, please review the Transferring section of the UAH website.

Back to Top

Roofs, Window, Balconies, Fire Escapes, and Ledges

Use of the roof of the building for any purpose other than emergency evacuation is prohibited.

Throwing anything from windows or balconies is prohibited. 

Back to Top

Sexual Violence

Sexual Violence Response provides comprehensive and integrated education about sexual and intimate partner violence. Through innovative programming and community collaboration, Sexual Violence Response empowers students to heal from sexual violence, make informed decisions, and take action to end sexual and intimate partner violence.

To report an incident or for further information please visit Columbia's online portal about Sexual Respect

Back to Top

Smoking Policy

Smoking is prohibited in specific UAH buildings. For more information contact the UAH Director of Residential Services at or 212-854-9300.

Back to Top


Affiliates living in University Apartment Housing may apply for permission to sublet their housing unit. For summer sublets, students are eligible to sublet their room or apartment beyond May 31 once the lease or contract is renewed.

Note: Due to a new New York state law, effective April 1, 2015, students may no longer sublet for time periods less than 30 days.

For more information, please review the Subletting section of the UAH website. 

Back to Top


Any type of weapon including, firearms, explosives, flammables, air pistols, BB guns and fireworks is prohibited. University policy and New York Penal Law Section 265.01(3) prohibit possession of firearms on campus without the University's written authorization from the Vice President of Public Safety.

The University's prohibition against possession of firearms on campus extends to all University owned or controlled locations used for residences of affiliated persons, including all housing obtained through the Office of Housing Services and University Apartment Housing. Firearms possessed in violation of this University policy will be confiscated. Violators of the policy may be subject to University discipline as well as criminal prosecution.

For more information, please review the University Policy on Possession of Firearms on Campus.

Back to Top

Window Guards

NYC landlords are required by law to install child guards in your apartment if you have children less than ten years of age living with you or if you request child guards. If small children visit your apartment, child guards should be installed. If for some reason you did not receive a child guard notice, or if your circumstances with regard to resident or a visiting child change, please contact your superintendent or UAH immediately.

For more information, please review the Window Guards section of the UAH website.

Back to Top

Winter & Summer Breaks

Residents are responsible for the rent throughout the term of their lease, including the summer months. Students who expect to be out of town for 30 days or more for the summer or winter break may wish to make arrangements to sublet their apartment for this period. Please see the Subletting section for more information. 

Back to Top