Rental Guide



The landlord will require advance notice to schedule a move-in of your belongings. In most buildings, move-ins are scheduled from Monday through Friday, 9:00am-5:00pm.

Tip the building superintendent when you first move-in as this will almost guarantee better service in the future.

On move-in day, take photos of the apartment before your furniture and boxes have arrived, particularly of any areas that might have existing damage (chips in kitchen counter, water stains on the wood floor, etc.).

Rental Furniture
If you need to furnish your home quickly, Columbia University students, staff, and faculty will be eligible to receive a $50 VISA gift card for any new Student Package lease of 6 months or longer from Cort Furniture Rental. Follow the link for more information. 

Renter’s insurance

The landlord’s insurance does not cover the tenant’s personal property, so a tenant should have renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance policies typically cover damage and loss caused by routine weather events, fire, smoke vandalism and theft. The amount covered will depend on the amount you elect to take, so consider the replacement cost of your household goods very carefully. You can create an inventory of all your belongings on a spreadsheet or on

Renter’s insurance also includes liability protection. If someone was injured at your home and sued you, your legal expenses and any court award would be covered, generally up to a $50,000 or $100,000 limit, depending on how much coverage you elect to take.

Coverage often provides living expenses should you have to move out of your apartment if he apartment was uninhabitable due to fire, smoke, etc.

Renter’s insurance is not that expensive, as a basic policy costs about $300 to $400 per year with approximately $50,000 worth of property protection.  Read the policy carefully so you fully understand what is covered.

Following are a few insurance companies that provide renter’s insurance. Prices vary from company to company, so it is best to compare policies and prices carefully.

For more information, check:

Apartment Sharing
It is unlawful for a landlord to restrict occupancy of an apartment to the tenant named in the lease or to the tenant’s immediate family. When the lease names only one tenant, that tenant may share the apartment with immediate family, one additional occupant and the occupant’s dependent children, provided that it is the tenant’s primary residence.

A tenant must inform the landlord of the name of any occupant within 30 days after the occupant has moved into the apartment or within 30 days of a landlord’s request for this information. If the tenant named in the lease moves out, the remaining occupant has no right to continue in occupancy without the landlord’s express consent. Landlords may limit the total number of people living in an apartment to comply with legal overcrowding standards.

See Section 4 for information.

Preparing Your Apartment to Sublet
If you plan to sublet to someone you do not know, it is a good idea to do some vetting.  Ask for employment verification, as well as for official identification (passport, driver’s license, etc.).  Search their name on the internet and see what comes up.  

  • Remove any valuables
  • Keep your apartment clean
  • Make a list of contact information
  • Pre-pay anything you are responsible for while you are gone (i.e. electric bill, cable bill, etc.)
  • Provide any helpful information about the apartment, building and neighborhood
  • Ask for a security deposit