Learn About Security Deposits, Rental Verifications, and Reference Letters

Learn how the Real Estate Billing and Accounting team at Columbia University processes residential security deposits and can provide rental verifications and reference letters. 


Tenant Security Deposits

A security deposit is a payment made in addition to the first month's rent on a residential lease. The University holds this payment throughout the term of the lease. The deposit ensures that any incidental damages made to the apartment by the tenant during the lease can be repaired at no cost to the University.

Rental Verifications and Reference Letters

Rental verifications and reference letters are only provided to the tenant of record or through a release document that the tenant must sign for a prospective landlord or Financial/Mortgage Institution.

Questions regarding rental verifications and reference letters should be addressed to Real Estate Billing and Accounting at 212-854-1009 or by email to [email protected].

Security deposits are equal to one month's rent and are due at the time of move-in. They are then held—and cannot be accessed—until you vacate the apartment according to University procedures, which includes returning all keys and having the apartment inspected for damages.

Interest payments on your security deposit, if applicable, are sent out to the apartment address on an annual basis. An IRS 1099 form will be issued for any interest income.

A security deposit is not your last month rent payment. It is the policy of Columbia University that rent must be paid through the day of vacancy. Refunds take up to 60 days to process.

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