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Leases & deposits
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Deposits for more than the first month’s rent are not permitted in Quebec; a landlord cannot ask you for anything more than the first month's rent.
If you sign a rental application and are accepted, you are legally obligated to sign a lease.
Landlords cannot ask you for your SIN (social insurance number), student visa, credit card, or photocopy any of your personal information, though they can verify your name and address with a piece of photo ID.
Looking for an apartment is already stressful enough without the added time pressure and inability to visit in person. Luckily, there are many ways to lower the likelihood of getting caught in an apartment scam. Trust your gut and be critical when looking for an apartment. If something feels weird with the listing, if the application process is rushed or if the apartment seems too good to be true, it may be a scam.
For your safety, it's illegal for landlords to rent a unit that doesn't have a window.
Every closed bedroom in a unit must also have a window.
Make sure your landlord has equipped your apartment with a working smoke detector.
There are many different neighbourhoods in Montreal that can be considered good for a university student, depending on your priorities.
Here is the average price you can expect to pay for each of the main areas of Montreal:
NDG / Côte-Saint-Luc
South-West Montreal & Verdun
As soon as possible. If your budget can accommodate it and you are coming from inside Canada, you might consider looking for a lease that starts on July 1, as there are more options available at that time. If that’s not possible, start looking now anyway, to gauge what’s available and try to figure out what neighbourhood is the best fit for you.
Yes, you can sign a lease remotely. Be sure that the lease you are signing is a lease mandated by the Tribunal administratif de logement (TAL), which is the required lease document in Quebec. You can purchase a “Lease of a Dwelling” from Les Publications du Québec.
Make sure all your responsibilities as a tenant are clear and that anything included in the agreement is written in the lease.
The landlord will often add an appendix and/or list of building regulations. Make sure you read this through carefully.
Video tours can be deceiving and sometimes you're shown a different unit than what you are signing up to rent. If possible, try to do a virtual visit. Given that many students will be looking for housing before travelling to Montreal, it’s understandable that you may not be able to tour apartments in person.
Another good rule of thumb: if it seems too good to be true, it is. Watch out for any red flags such as the landlord asking for too much information, the apartment being too cheap for the neighbourhood, and weird demands in the contract. Know that if you are unsure, you can ask someone at the Concordia Student Union's Off-Campus Housing and Job Resource Centre (HOJO) to look it over for you to help you make the right decision.
Start with the Concordia Student Union's Off-Campus Housing and Job Resource Centre (HOJO) roommate classifieds. You can also join the 2022-2023 New Concordians Facebook page, where there will be threads about housing and other students looking for roommates throughout the spring and summer.
There are many platforms you can use to find roommates online. Take a look at classifieds.csu.qc.ca, a Concordia-only apartment and room posting page. Here you can see ads that have been posted by other Concordia students looking for roommates, or individual apartments posted by landlords looking for student tenants. There are also many Facebook groups for international students looking for roommates or housing. Though we aren't affiliated with these groups, we have heard from students that they are also a good resource.
To learn more about the different neighborhoods in Montreal, you can look at our multilingual site likehome.info. This is a website we have created that offers useful information about different aspects of renting an apartment in Montreal and also has an interactive map that displays different neighborhoods with a transit map overlay. There’s a super useful feature on the upper-left side that allows you to select neighborhoods that are within a 20-minute commute to campus. When you click on a specific neighborhood, it gives you a description of the area, the average rent for different sized apartments and the different metro or bus lines that bring you to campus.
Some neighbourhoods that are farther from campus but might have some more affordable options are: Park Extension, Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, LaSalle, Ville Emard, and Ahuntsic-Cartierville. You can even consider commuting from across the St. Lawrence River, via bus, metro, or train (and coming soon, light rail). Longueuil and Laval, suburbs across the river, can be reached by metro.
As you expand your search away from campus, keep the public transit map in mind. Living within a 10-minute walk of a public transit station will make your commute to campus much easier. Use a map app that includes a transit option to see the distance via transit between an apartment you’re looking at, and the Concordia campus (SGW or Loyola) where most of your in-person activities are expected to take place.
See Getting to campus for an overview view of all your transportation options.
If you’re expecting to have most of your in-person activities at the Loyola Campus, start by looking at neighbourhoods in the western end of Montreal: Côte-des-Neiges, Côte Saint-Luc, LaSalle, Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (NDG), Montreal West.
If you’ll be at the SGW Campus more, consider looking in the areas of Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, St-Michel, or in the suburb of Longueuil or Brossard (which connect via metro to downtown Montreal).
Use a map app to determine what the main transit routes are in the neighbourhoods that you’re looking at, and try to locate housing close to those routes.
It’s very important to know your rights as a tenant in Quebec. Due to the high demand for affordable housing in 2022, there are increased cases of Quebec landlords failing to abide by the usual laws about rent and tenants rights. Standing up for your rights is your responsibility.
Quebec has a rent control system, which is unique in Canada. What does rent control mean for tenants?
Rent control is in place to defend your rights as a tenant, but it’s up to you to make sure your landlord is complying with the rules.
It’s not a good idea to send out multiple applications at the same time. If you send an application for a rental, you are legally bound to sign a lease if your application is accepted. A useful trick is to make your application valid only for a certain time frame, say 48 hours. (You can make a note of this on the application, and inform the landlord when you’re communicating with them.) That way, if you don’t hear back from the landlord within a short period of time, you can keep looking.
Sometimes landlords request money at the time of the application. Be aware that there’s no guarantee that an application fee will either be refunded, or will be credited toward your rent. Send a landlord money online at your own risk.
Remember that within a landlord-tenant dispute, Concordia University will never get involved. A landlord cannot report a tenant to Canada customs, nor to the university, for a matter having to do with housing. They can call the police for matters to do with creating a disturbance or any criminal activity, but anything related to utilities or apartment maintenance is not a police matter.
You can get around Montreal by public transit, on foot, by bike, or by car. Montreal's public transit system is efficient and affordable, and Concordia’s SGW Campus is located at the Guy-Concordia metro stop. The Loyola Campus is accessible by several bus lines, in addition to the Concordia shuttle that runs between the two campuses throughout the day.
See more information about getting to campus
Many people opt to use public transit or bike (even in the winter in some cases!) both because the city is relatively easy to get around without a car, and because the roads can be hectic. But if you’re looking for a place to live in Montreal, and you’re considering bringing your car, keep in mind you may have the option of buying a vignette, or a resident’s parking permit from your borough. The permit lets you park on the street in your neighbourhood.
See Getting to campus to learn more about parking on campus.
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