Apartment/Room Policies

Air Conditioners

Window air conditioners are provided by the Office of Housing Services in each bedroom of 50 Haven Ave. and Georgian Residence. Residents in the Georgian Residence who wish to have an air conditioner installed in the common area of their apartment must purchase one on their own. The air conditioner must be installed by the Office of Housing Services. Air conditioners should not exceed 5,000 BTUs and cannot be more than 15 inches high or 27 inches wide. Window frames will not be cut to accommodate oversize units. Air conditioner installation and removal forms are available at the Office of Housing Services. There is a $25 installation charge and $20 removal charge.

Towers 1, 2, and 3, 54 Haven Ave and 390 Fort Washington have central air conditioning.

Apartment/Room Alternations

Residents may not build in, add to, change or alter their apartments or bedrooms in any way without advanced written consent from Office of Housing Services. 

The following items are prohibited: dishwashers, clothes washing or drying machines, electric stoves, garbage disposal units, heating or ventilating units, or any electrical equipment that will overload the existing wiring installation in the building, and any water-filled furniture.


If residents think there are bedbugs in the unit, it is very important to contact the Office of Housing Services immediately.  The Office of Housing Services will provide you with a list of directions, next steps and tips on how to treat the situation (along with the pest control team). 

Columbia University is committed to addressing infestations quickly and effectively and takes these matters very seriously. 

Below are suggestions that may help to avoid bringing bedbugs into an apartment:

  • Do NOT pick up any used furniture off the street, even if it appears to be in good condition.
  • Do NOT buy used mattresses or any other used furniture.
  • When returning home from traveling, immediately wash the clothes brought on the trip. Use the highest water temperature possible, and the highest dryer setting. Other sensitive items can be placed in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes. Vacuum all luggage and then place in a plastic bag tied tight until needed. If there is no opportunity to do this immediately, store all luggage and contents in a tightly sealed plastic bag until all items can be properly cleaned.
  • Vacuum regularly. Use a HEPA filter vacuum and change the bag often. Vacuum all moldings, bed frames, mattresses, cracks and crevices, curtains, window panes and exterior and interior furniture. Vacuum once a week, or at the very least, once a month. Cleaning is a must! On a regular basis, wash all floors, moldings, furniture, etc., with soap containing essential oils (i.e.: Murphy's oil). It is important to inspect and clean behind all hanging picture frames as well. Avoid clutter whenever possible.
  • If residents do happen to get bedbugs, do not attempt self-treatment.  Contact the Office of Housing Services immediately.  This will eradicate the situation sooner and avoid infestation.
  • Do not be embarrassed to notify one’s workplace, school or other locations frequented that have bedbugs. This will allow those notified to inspect their premises and help prevent the opportunity to bring bedbugs back into the home after treatment.
  • Stay educated! Don't wait for a problem to arise before learning more. There is a great deal of information available regarding the history of bedbugs, and proactive ways of preventing them and dealing with an infestation.

Feel free to find helpful information from the CDC and EPA.


It is expected that residents maintain their bedrooms in addition to all common areas in apartments (bathrooms, kitchens, common-area corridors, etc.) in order to maintain a general level of cleanliness living on campus. Regular cleaning maintenance will insure a comfortable, sanitary living environment for all, and minimizes the control of pests as well as enhances safety precautions. In addition, trash and recycling must be appropriately discarded on a regular basis. 

If apartments are found to be in violation of cleaning standards (while Office of Housing Services or Columbia University personnel are in your apartments for repairs, inspections, etc.) residents will be receive notice. The Office of Housing Services will re-inspect apartments within five (5) days to ensure residents have rectified the situation and cleaned the apartment common areas. Cleaning violations not rectified by the residents will be subject to billing for cleaning services, as we would assign a cleaning services to your apartment to clean the common areas, at minimum of $200, or loss of eligibility for housing. 

Extermination Services

If you suspect a rodent or insect infestation in your unit, contact the Office of Housing Services immediately. We have the right to enter your living area to verify the situation, with or without an outside professional. Evidence of an infestation must be found or no treatment will be performed.

Not complying with procedures given to you by the Office of Housing Services and outside professionals can result in future infestations.

Furnishing, Fixtures, Keys, and Locks

Residents may not remove or alter any of the furnishings, fixtures, appliances or locks provided by the Office of Housing Services.  Residents in furnished units may request bed removal if they bring their own bed with them to campus; all such requests must be approved and requested to the Office of Housing Services. 

Any damage, whether intentional or accidental, should be reported to the Office of Housing Services.  Damages to items or areas not reported to Office of Housing Services will be considered the joint responsibility of all residents in the unit. 

For the safety and security of all residents and to keep your personal belongings secure, please keep your suite and/or apartment doors locked at all times. 

Upon move-out, keys may not be left in the apartment or room and must be returned to the Door Attendant located at Tower 1.  Failure to return keys will result in a $100 fee plus the cost of key/cylinder replacement, if applicable. 

Heat and Hot Water

Building owners are legally required to provide heat and hot water to their residents. Hot water must be provided 365 days per year at a constant minimum temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat must be provided between October 1 and May 31, i.e., "heat season," under the following conditions:

  • Day: Between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, the inside temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees.
  • Night: Between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., the inside temperature is required to be at least 62 degrees Fahrenheit.

Each building has different devices that monitor both outside and inside temperatures to ensure we comply with these guidelines. As with all types of equipment, heating equipment may fail and need repair from time to time, and we appreciate residents’ cooperation when heating or boiler repairs are being made.

Radiator valves cannot be used to regulate the amount of heat in an apartment. These valves must be either fully opened or fully closed. Leaving valves partially open can cause banging, leaks and the inefficient operation of the building's heating system. If residents experience any problems with radiators, please inform the Office of Housing Services

If residents have no heat or hot water and a notice of service interruption has not been posted in the building, please contact the Office of Housing and/or the Door Attendant/Public Safety Officer in your building. 

Internet, Telephone, and Cable

The majority of CUIMC buildings--including all CUIMC residential buildings--have wireless internet service, provided with no additional charge by CUIMC IT. For information regarding computers, email, and ethernet installation, visit CUIMC IT's website or call 212-305-HELP (4357), option 5.

If you want to set up cable TV service in your CUIMC unit, contact Spectrum at 212-222-5388 or via the Spectrum website.

Lead Paint Inspections

Local Law 1 of 2004 requires New York City landlords to identify and fix lead paint hazards in apartment where young children live. In buildings covered by Local Law 1, landlords must find out if any children younger than six years old live in the building and inspect those apartments for lead paint hazards every year.

Please review more information about Local Law 1.

Renters Insurance

During occupancy in CUIMC on-campus housing, it is important residents protect themselves financially against personal property losses by acquiring renters insurance. Renters insurance can provide coverage for damaged, lost or stolen personal items, as well as personal liability if someone is injured in the apartment or property is damaged that belongs to others.

Renters insurance can also provide the financial means for acquiring temporary living facilities if the residence becomes uninhabitable due to severe weather damage or some other form of disaster. Some policies include off-premises coverage. This means that belongings taken outside of the residence (phones, laptops, etc.) are covered against the same disasters as listed in the insurance policy.

Columbia University does not offer renters insurance, but residents can find information on how to determine one’s coverage, survey one’s items, and find a provider by visiting the Insurance Information Institute or working directly with any insurance company of your liking. 

Rugs and Floor Coverings

In the event another resident complains of noise, residents are responsible for providing area rugs that cover 80 percent of the floor area to comply with the terms of the rental agreement. Floor coverings help in reducing the amount of foot traffic and other noises in the apartment or room. Wall-to-wall carpeting may not be installed.


Subletting a room or apartment is allowed during the summer breaks or under other specific circumstances with school or departmental approval. All sublets must be for a minimum of 30 days in accordance with NY State law and require prior approval by Office of Housing Services. Residents may sublet to Columbia affiliates only.

Visit the Subletting at CUIMC page to learn more. 

Window Guards

New York City landlords are required by law to install child window guards in apartments where children less than 10 years of age are living. All residents should receive a child guard notice when they sign their lease and once per year thereafter. If small children visit the apartment, window guards must be installed.

Child guards are not the same as burglar or security bars, which can be wide enough to allow a child to slip through. Child guards are not designed to protect against intruders.

If for some reason a resident did not receive a window guard notice, or if circumstances with regard to a resident or a visiting child change, please contact the Office of Housing Services at housingservices@cumc.columbia.edu