FAQ | Moving In and Getting Settled

Preparing for Arrival

  • Two days prior to your move-in appointment, you will receive an email with move-in instructions. Please arrive at the designated location at your appointment time. This location may not be your new apartment building, so please be sure to review the move-in instructions carefully. Please review Moving In for more detailed information. 
  • To find your Superintendent’s contact information, please use our Explore Residences page or log into the Housing Portal, go to “Building Info” (right-hand side of the screen), then click “Building” for contact information.
Housing Portal- Building Info

You will need photo identification (Columbia ID, State Issued ID, or Passport) to pick up keys. 

  • PRO TIP! Only the tenant of record may pick up keys, we cannot release to anyone else, so you want to be sure to schedule your Move in Appointment with this in mind. 

Log into the  Housing Portal, go to “Assignment,” then click “Move-In Appt.” After selecting a new appointment date/time, press “Confirm Move-In date”.

  • Appointment changes must be requested at least 15 days prior to the scheduled move-in date. If you are requesting a change with less than 15 days' notice, email [email protected] and we will try to accommodate.
  • Please keep in mind, under no circumstances may your move in appointment be scheduled before the “earliest available move in date” of the apartment you selected.
Housing Portal- Move-In Appt

Deliveries cannot be accepted prior to move-in. We cannot guarantee the safety of packages that arrive without you there to receive them. You will want to plan accordingly.

ABSOLUTELY! A Certificate of Insurance (COI) is required for all Columbia Residential residents using a moving company. It must be emailed to [email protected]  48 hours before your scheduled Move-In date. You may review the needed COI information on the provided link. 

Sure! Some vendors who have worked with Columbia Residential in the past are below. Be sure to have a Certificate of Insurance (COI) emailed to [email protected]  48 hours before your scheduled Move-In date.

It’s strongly recommended; 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 that belongs to others is damaged.

  • PRO TIP! 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

No, we do not have moving bins at this time.

We will send the Housing Agreement 10 days prior to the Move-In appointment. If you need a signed lease prior to the Move-In date of your apartment, please email [email protected]. We can send/process the agreement earlier than this, with the acknowledgement that:

  1. The Move-In date cannot be changed to an earlier date.
  2. The Move-In is changed to a later date but billing/rent will start on the date of the signed housing agreement.

Yes, your partner must show photo ID to get a copy of the keys. Be sure to review the Couples and Family Housing information.

What's included in my apartment?

Take a look at our Accommodations webpage! The images are examples of the type of furniture you’ll find in a furnished apartment:

Furniture- Bedroom
Furniture- Living Room


Extra-long twin beds (dimensions:38 inches wide X 80 inches long) are provided in most apartment shares, dorms, and studios under 300 sq ft. Full-size beds are provided in most other cases.

Residents in furnished units may request bed removal for medical reasons only; all such requests must be submitted directly and approved by the Office of Disability Services.

Unfurnished apartments come without any furniture, so residents in unfurnished units provide their own furniture. However, a stove and a refrigerator are standard items in apartment-style units (furnished or unfurnished).

Unfortunately, we cannot arrange furniture purchases or exchanges. When residents move out, they must clear all personal belongings, or they may incur a fee.

  • PRO TIP! Many residents purchase their furniture at retailers like, but not limited to, the below as they deliver: IKEA, Target, Wayfair, Walmart, Kmart, etc.

DISCLAIMER: Columbia Residential does not conduct business with the companies listed. These are simply recommendations.

Refrigerator and stove access are standard in all apartments. You will have your own refrigerator in private apartments and shared access with roommates and suitemates in dorm-style units and in shared apartments.  

Other items like microwaves, coffee maker, cutlery and linens are the resident’s responsibility. Review the Furnishing, Fixtures, Keys and Locks for more information.

Your building’s Superintendent will know this. Please visit the Explore Residences page or your Housing Portal for your Super’s contact information.

Gas and Electricity: First, check if the apartment has utilities included by logging into the Housing Portal and going to “Assignments.” Please see the screenshot below for an example.

  • Students: Gas and electricity are included in the rent for students who live in apartment shares, dorms, and most students in private, couple and family apartments.
  • Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs: This is not typically included in the rent. Please make arrangements with Con Edison for service prior to moving in.

Heat, hot water, and trash removal are always included in rent for all residents.


  • Students: there is no additional charge. Check out ApartmentNet to confirm your building is covered and to buy a wireless router! For those moving into apartment shares, check with your roommate(s) first to see if they have a wireless router.
    • PRO TIP! Check out the CUIT website, it offers tips on how to set up Wi-Fi using ApartmentNet.
  • Faculty, Staff, and Postdocs: If the apartment is wired, you may utilize ApartmentNet at $40/month or contact your preferred internet service provider.

Cable TV and Phone are not included, and you will need to contact an outside service provider (e.g. Spectrum, Verizon, etc.).

Housing Portal- Utilities

Who am I living with?

Sure! Log into the Housing Portal, click “Assignment”, then click the subtab named “Assignment”. Roommate information is found at the bottom of the page.

  • General Studies students who live in a dormitory-style suite will not be able to review contact information of those that live on their floor as suitemates. As these are self-contained units, we cannot provide “roommate" information.
  • PRO TIP! Be sure to review Roommate Rights, Responsibilities, Respect for Community and Mediation. Take some time to get to know and set expectations for living with a new person. Compromise and communication are key!
Housing Portal- Roommate Information

Start by reaching out and introducing yourselves. We recommend laying a foundation of expectations by creating a Roommate Agreement that’s signed by all roommates.

PRO TIP! In case of conflict, here are some suggestions to foster healthy/productive conversations:

  1. Schedule the best time for roommates to meet (in-person or virtually). Texting isn't always the best option as it can be misinterpreted. 
  2. Calmly and clearly share your concerns.
  3. Allow other roommates an uninterrupted chance to share.
  4. Brainstorm and list all potential solutions to the issue.
  5. Discuss these solutions in good faith; NOTHING’S PERFECT. Collaborate with roommates to find common ground solutions.
  6. Need Help? For more resources and tips, please visit Roommate Rights, Responsibilities, Respect for Community and Mediation or reach out to the Columbia OMBUDS Office for a confidential resource!

On Moving Day:

It is primarily street-parking on move-in day. You are welcome to learn more about Parking through Columbia Transportation.

Parking in NYC can be challenging, so here are some tips on keeping your car and your belongings safe:

  1. Read parking signs carefully before leaving your car.
  2. If you’re not parked in a legal parking spot, don’t leave your car unattended.
  3. While parked or pulled over, fold in your side mirrors to avoid any accidents.
  4. Be mindful of blocking other cars or the road while unpacking.

If you do not have your Columbia University ID, you may present any government issued ID for key release.

Sorry, keys cannot be mailed or picked up by anyone other than yourself, the tenant of record.


You will have Move-In instructions emailed to your Columbia University inbox two days prior to the appointment. Your Super’s contact information can be found there as well as the Housing Portal.

  • Running late? Superintendents are typically on-site until 3:30PM. Please plan to arrive before this time.
  • Arriving after 4PM? You will not be able to move in on that day and will have to find alternative accommodation. A list of short-term and temporary housing options can be found on the Work/Life site, and additional resources are available on the Off-Campus Housing Assistance site.
  • Superintendent not answering? They’re very busy during the Move-In season! Please call the backup Superintendent within the Move-In instruction email or call our office at (212) 854-9300 and we will contact them on your behalf. 

GREAT question! Your Move-In appointment is to pick up keys from the Superintendent. You do not need to move all your belongings on that date. If you’re using professional movers, be sure to review the Certificate of Insurance (COI).

  • Small items can be moved in at any time (for example, luggage, small boxes, etc.)
  • Large items should only be moved in during normal business hours (Monday-Friday between 9AM and 4PM).

Contact your Super, their information is on the Explore Residences page, Housing Portal, or Move In Instructions email, if you have further questions.

Storage is not available at the Residential office or Buildings, so you will need to keep your luggage with you. Unfortunately, we are not able to provide storage nor guarantee the security of your items.

  • PRO TIP! Residents in need of luggage storage have utilized Luggage Hero, you can reserve storage online at a nearby retailer.

If your unit is not quite ready on your Move-In day, please notify your Super and give us time to resolve.

  1. A clean apartment helps with peace of mind! If your apartment (private or shared) is extremely dirty on your Move-In day, please encourage the Superintendent to take photos and report this to the Columbia Residential office. Please remain at the building/ complete your move while we work towards resolution.

Billing & Rent Payments

Correct; your rent is prorated based on the Move-In date. See Billing & Payments for more information.

You and your partner must arrange between yourselves if you’d like to split costs.

  • For Students, housing related charges are applied to the tenant-of-record's (primary tenant) student account (SSOL).
  • For Faculty, Staff & Postdocs, charges are applied and mailed as rent statements to the primary tenant. 

Getting Settled:

Card-operated laundry facilities are available to all residents, typically in the basement or in an adjacent building. Residents may purchase a new laundry card for $5 (cash only) at specific locations.

It’s the resident’s responsibility to purchase an air conditioner

  • Important Note: It must be professionally installed either by the retailer/manufacturer or by a third-party professional. Please review the Air Conditioning page for further information.
    • PRO TIP! Be sure to check with your roommates before making a purchase. They may already have AC’s set up in the apartment.

We’ve got you covered. Routine, non-emergency maintenance requests can be made by submitting a service request online, or by calling the Facilities Service Center at (212) 854-2222. This can cover anything from a broken refrigerator light to requesting an exterminator.

Single: If you are single, only one set of keys is issued. In the event you lose your key, you may submit a service request online, or by calling the Facilities Service Center at (212) 854-2222. Fees may apply.

Couple and Family: If you are moving into couple or family housing, two sets should be provided if your partner or family members are present when you move in. If they are not, you may follow up with your superintendent directly upon their arrival to arrange to receive a second set of keys.

Please see the Furniture, Fixture, Keys and Locks page for further information.

Awesome question! Here are a few common cases we’re happy to provide information on:

  1. Cleaning: It’s the responsibility of the current residents of the apartment to keep it clean. Please familiarize yourself with the Cleaning and Maintenance policy.
  2. Noise: Quiet hours are Sunday through Thursday nights from 11PM – 8AM and Friday and Saturday mornings from 1AM to 8AM.
    • As stated in your housing agreement, it’s mandatory for residents to have 80% of their floor space covered with Rugs/Floor coverings.
  3. Smoking: Any form of smoking, including the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, hookahs, e-cigarettes or vaporizers, is prohibited in Columbia Residential.
  4. Sublets: Subletting your space requires an approved Sublet application. Review the terms and conditions of Subletting before allowing someone in your space.

Parents, we've got you covered. Take advantage of the University Life webpage, there are a wide variety of programs and extracurricular activities for families with children.

Welcome home 😊! Meet new people and get involved by visiting the University Life webpage for updates on current activities and initiatives.

Have a question you think we missed? 

Email us at [email protected] so we can address your question and possibly add it to this page to help other potential residents!