NYC Apartment Hunting Tips

We like to plan early when we can, and this time it turns out that our scheduled Off-Campus Housing webinar was planned directly during a World Cup match. Actually, the webinar was right in the middle of Croatia vs England. We understand. This one’s on us. But to our incoming students, don’t worry – the webinar was recorded, and we’ll send an email out once it’s up on the Welcome Portal.

Because apartment hunting in New York City is its own unique adventure, here are three insider tips for off-campus housing:

  1. If you find an apartment you like, be prepared to commit to it that day. Apartment-hunting is extremely competitive in the summer, so be ready to commit the day of. We know our students like to prepare early, but it’s almost impossible to secure an apartment until about 4-6 weeks before your actual move-in date.
  2. Never pay cash to secure an apartment. So you’re ready, you’ve got your documents, you’re ready to put down the deposit. Make sure you leave a paper trail! Most reputable brokers and landlords accept a certified check, and in rarer cases a credit card. Just make sure they issue you a receipt.
  3. Connecting with possible Columbia roommates. There are many, many resources for Columbia students and NYC folks in general looking for housing and roommates. A 5-year Columbia student lists a couple of Facebook groups to check out in this post, while a Texas transplant lists some more resources here. And don’t forget, Columbia also has its Off-Campus Housing Assistance (OCHA) website here.

A reminder to those who want to learn more about policy school (and are ready for that NYC apartment hunt) — we’ll be at Summerfest NYC and Summerfest D.C. on July 18th and 19th. These are free mini-graduate school fairs held with four other top policy schools. Come by, say hello, and get all the info you might need from our alumni and admissions staff.