Mold in Your Room or Suite


The best way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. Residents can help prevent mold growth in the following ways:

  • If there is a water leak, pipe condensation, or another issue contributing to room or building moisture, report it immediately to the Hartley Hospitality Desk or through an online service request.
  • If a building is air conditioned, do not open windows while air conditioning is running. 
  • Properly dry wet clothing, towels, shoes or other items in room.
  • Allow bathrooms to fully ventilate after showering.
  • Remove belongings from shower area on cleaning day to allow custodial staff to thoroughly clean and disinfect the shower.
  • Clean your bathroom thoroughly if you live in a building where bathroom cleaning is the resident’s responsibility.

Mold and Your Health

Mold is a naturally occurring substance and can be found anywhere, indoors or outdoors. The mere presence of mold growth does not necessarily indicate that people present in the area will exhibit health effects. Learn more about mold from the EPA.

Some people are allergic to mold, and mold exposure may worsen symptoms of other pre-existing conditions such as asthma. If a resident is experiencing symptoms that they believe may be the result of exposure to mold allergens, they should contact Medical Services at Columbia Health.

The staff of Columbia Housing and its operational partners are committed to an effective and efficient response to students who suspect they may have mold in their room or residence hall.

How to Report Suspected Mold

The University considers reports of mold a health and safety issue and takes all reports of suspected mold seriously. Residents who are concerned about an area of suspected mold in their room should immediately call the Hartley Hospitality Desk or submit an online service request.

University Facilities will respond within one business day to conduct a visual inspection of the room. 

University Response to Confirmed Mold

Columbia Housing and Facilities and Operations follow a standard protocol for treating instances of mold per New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene guidelines. If mold is confirmed in a room, the following actions will be taken: 

  • Trained staff treat areas of visible mold with products that have mold inhibitors and kill spores. 
  • If needed, the area will be sealed with a mildew-resistant finish and then painted. 
  • In most cases, this standard protocol eliminates mold in 1 –2 visits.