- Given the extraordinary situation, try to arrange virtual visit to the apartment: you may ask the landlord to make via Skype or FaceTime. If you do decide to visit the dwelling in person, make sure to respect social distancing practices and take safety precautions, such as wearing a mask, not touching your face and washing your hands before & after the visit. Most importantly, if you feel sick, don’t visit an apartment in person – a virtual visit can be just as helpful!
-Ask the landlord any questions you have.
-Clarify what would be included in the rent and what is your responsibility.
-Deposits for more than first month’s rent are not permitted in in Quebec, a landlord cannot ask you for anything more than the first months' 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.
-Ask about the unit's history with vermin, pests, and damages.
How to avoid scams when looking for an apartment online
Rental scams can take on many forms. The goal may be to get money or personal information from apartment hunters for something that either doesn’t exist, or an apartment they have no legal right to rent.
During these unprecedented times, apartment hunters are more vulnerable to scams. 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.
Rental scams: Red Flags or Things To Watch For
1. The apartment is too good to be true: Whenever you see an apartment that seems too good to be true, it probably is. An apartment that is very cheap for the size or area is a red flag.
2. You are asked to send money before signing a lease or visiting (virtually or physically) the apartment.
3. You are asked to pay with online coupons, money transfer, cryptocurrency or other untraceable method of payment.
4.The landlord is too eager or pushy: This can be suspicious. They might claim that there is a lot of interest in the apartment to pressure you into an agreement.
5. Asking for too much information.
6. Requiring a deposit of more than the first month of rent when signing the lease -in Quebec, any kind of deposit is illegal.
7. Refusing to sign a lease: If a landlord wants you to pay rent or any other fee without signing a lease, it might be because they don’t have a legal right to rent out that apartment, or it doesn’t exist.
8. The landlord is ‘’out of the country’’: A common rental scam is a ‘landlord’ who claims they’re out of the country. Scammers may even pretend to be an agent for a real estate company or a management company acting on the behalf of a landlord who’s out of the country. To verify that the person behind the listing is the landlord, do your own background check on the municipal directory of property owners or do a Google search of the management company to see if they’re trustworthy.
Rental scams: how to avoid them
Ask a friend or family member to look over the listing with you. A second pair of eyes is always helpful when looking for signs of a scam.
Use Google images reverse search function to see if the photos have been posted before. Apartment rental scams often copy listings from other real listings, but change details or lower the price to lure apartment hunters in.
Do your research on the building or management company. Be sure the person you’re speaking to is the landlord or their representative, and you can find out who owns the building through the municipal directory of property owners.
Always sign a lease. As a tenant, it’s your right to have an official Quebec lease drawn up in either French or English, the language of your choice.
Never send money before signing a lease. When paying rent, always make sure to get a rental receipt as proof of payment.
Neighborhoods - Price averages
There are many different neighborhoods in Montreal that can be considered good for a university student, depending on your priorities.
Here are the pricing averages for each of the main areas of Montreal:
The Concordia Student Union- Off-Campus Housing and Job Resource Center (HOJO)
HOJO can assist you with your Montreal apartment hunt. They also offer legal information to students about housing and job questions and concerns.
They operate a classifieds website where you can find apartments and rooms for rent. Every ad has been reviewed to help you avoid scams, problematic situations and overpriced apartments. If you’re looking for information on an apartment or landlord, reach-out to them!
classifieds.csu.qc.ca is 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. All ads are restricted to registered student users, so make an account with us today with your letter of acceptance or student card. Once registered you can browse apartments and rooms.