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When looking for your first university apartment, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information needed to navigate the housing market. Lease agreements are no exception to this; whether you don’t know who to ask to be a guarantor, how to set up an account with Hydro Quebec, or you’re unsure about what to expect on the lease agreement, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the complex world of leases with ease.

 

What You’ll Need Before Signing

While many landlords have different requirements for tenants before signing a lease, it’s very common to be asked to provide basic information to prove your reliability and ensure you’ll meet the requirements set out in the lease.

Proof of identity

This is common practice, and while they may ask for proof of your identity, they cannot photocopy or save a photo of it or the information listed on it.

References

You may be asked to provide a reference from a previous landlord, which is why it’s important to stay on good terms with your landlord, or you may be able to send a reference letter with copies of a credit report or a collection of bills you’ve consistently paid.

Credit / Guarantor

As a student, you likely have not rented before or even established much credit yet. You’ll require a guarantor to vouch for you and provide a guarantee that the financial requirements of your lease will be fulfilled.

 

What to Expect on Your Lease

Going over and signing a lease agreement

After viewing an apartment, meeting the landlord or superintendent, and getting pre-approved for the lease, landlords will have you sign a Quebec lease agreement, with an addendum or schedule of rules and regulations specific to that building that’s added to the end of the lease. Standard information that is covered by lease agreements includes:

The amount of your rent and what it covers

Does it include internet, heating, and hydro? What about snow removal? If your building has amenities, are they included too? If hydro is not included, ask the landlord for the costs or use this resource to estimate your monthly bill if the heat is electric.

Whether or not it’s a joint tenancy

Make note if it’s a joint tenancy, this means all tenants are equally responsible to cover the rent; if one tenant decides to leave then all remaining tenants will need to ensure the full rent continues to be paid. Joint tenants can sign this agreement to establish how they will split the rent.

Building-specific procedures and policies

This can include how to dispose of garbage and on what days it’s collected, if there’s laundry in the building and how much it costs, whether tenant insurance is required, and how the unit is heated, among other things.

Contact information

Who are the building managers? Is there a superintendent on site? Make sure you know who these people are and how to contact them.

Addendum

This will be different on each lease and can include the landlord’s policy on allowances for things like pets, parties, fire escape procedures, accessibility needs, and more.

What to Watch Out For

In Quebec it is not legal for landlords to require a deposit when signing your lease. It is legal for them to require first month’s rent when you sign, which may be paid well in advance of when you actually move. Your first month’s rent functions as a deposit would, which is legal because it’s basically a pre-payment of rent. However, this means your next rent payment will be due on month two of tenancy; make sure you aren’t asked for money beyond the first month’s rent when signing. Additionally:

  • Landlords cannot ask for more than one month’s rent at a time
  • They cannot charge a damage deposit
  • They cannot ask for a key deposit or post-dated cheques

 

Other Things to Know

Beyond the lease agreement, there are other standards and practices that you need to know about when renting an apartment in Quebec.

Evictions

While Quebec renting laws tend to favour the right of tenants to retain occupancy, landlords can legally file for eviction if they wish to subdivide, enlarge substantially, renovate, or change the use of the property. If attempting to evict their tenants, landlords must provide an eviction notice with the reason and the date of the eviction. A landlord must provide the following amount of notice to evict:

  • Six months before, on a lease of six months or more
  • One month before, on a lease of six months or less
  • Six months before, on a lease without a set term.

A tenant then has one month from the time they receive the eviction notice to notify the landlord whether they accept or reject the eviction notice. If a tenant fails to respond appropriately within that window, it is assumed they have accepted the notice to evict.

Subletting

Since many students spend their summers elsewhere, having someone live in your space and supplement your rent can really ease the financial burden. Here’s the form you need for that.

Student on moving day

Moving day

Whether it’s intentional or by coincidence, many leases in Quebec run 12 months long and commonly start anywhere from May 1st to July 1st. This means that move-in day for many people falls on July 1st, Canada Day. If you’re booking a moving truck for that day, you’ll have to prepare well in advance since it is often a day of chaos and mass movement in the province.

 

When to look for apartments

For leases beginning in May, June, or July, make sure you start looking for what’s available in January, that way you won’t get stuck living somewhere you don’t want.

Lease renewals

In Quebec it is typical for your landlord to send you a notice of renewal 6 months or so before your lease ends. Once received, you’ll have 30 days to respond if you are staying or leaving. Without providing notice you may get locked in to an additional year or be forced out earlier than you wanted.

 

Ask Questions

Remember to ask questions about your lease and consult more than just your landlord. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself or seek help when it comes to even basic things like choosing which internet provider to use. If you’re unsure whether something is legally permitted in your lease, check out the website for the Régie, now known as the Tribunal administratif du logement. The Régie holds jurisdiction over all matters relating to renting in Quebec and is an invaluable resource for anyone renting an apartment. They exist to help renters navigate housing and also to enforce legal renting practices. Always refer to the Régie to clarify what is and is not legal, what your rights are, and how to receive legal help in matters of renting.

The Golden Square Mile, located at the foot of Montréal’s infamous Mount-Royal, is home to some of the most striking architecture and, of course, to McGill University’s downtown campus.

Always guaranteed that something cool is going on (likely multiple cool things) at all times… You’ll find tons of cheap eats, many of which are open 24h or super late (perfect for munchies after a night of partying), as well as high-end restaurants to impress your parents with when they come visit you.

Apart from food, you’ll also find pretty much anything you need or want right round the corner from you. The Golden Square Mile’s reputation as the most happening place in town as our cultural hub is why it’s the perfect spot for our brand new student apartment residence, LeMILDORÉ.

EXPLORE THE NEIGHBOURHOOD

We’ve compiled all the coolest (and most useful) spots in the ‘hood for your convenience…

Tim Horton’s

Time Hortons in Golden Square Mile

2035 Rue Stanley

It’s rare to find a Montréal student who can go more than a day without their Timmie’s double-double coffee and bagel. Roll up the rim & join the club!

Joe’s Panini

Joes Panini Golden Square Mile

1404 Rue Drummond

Probs our number one panini shop in MTL. Super cheap, lots of options, great staff, and it’s pretty much THE spot for the after-after-party (open 24h!)

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Museum of Fine Arts in Golden Square Mile

1380 Rue Sherbrooke O

The perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon or a cold winter day, either with friends or on your own. They have a permanent exhibition that’s free, as well as seasonal exhibitions that you can buy tickets for online.

Club Sportif MAA

Club Sportif MAA Golden square mile

1050 Rue Sherbrooke O

This gym is on the higher end in terms of fees (do ask about their student rates, though!), but can you really put a price on staying active and feeling good? If you need a bit more than even the state-of-the-art McGill gym facilities offer, this is the place. Fancy gym is fancy.

McKibbin’s

McKibbin's Irish Pub Golden square mile

1426 Rue Bishop

If you’ve done frosh, you’ve probably been to this Irish pub already. Cheap drinks, awesome people, really fun vibes. Need we say more?

Super Sandwich

Super Sandwiches Golden square mile

1115 Rue Sherbrooke O

Tucked away in the heart of a condo building is this well-kept McGill secret. Super Sandwiches provide quick, cheap sustenance between classes or activities on campus.

SSMU Building

SSMU Building Golden square mile

3600 McTavish St

The Students’ Society of McGill University building, lovingly nicknamed Shatner, is home to the university’s club offices, Players’ theatre, hangout spots, the lounge and café.

Boustan

Boustan Golden square mile

2020 Rue Crescent
Of course we had to include another late-night post-partying munchies spot on our list, since it’ll come in handy. Boustan has some of the best garlic potatoes in the city, take our word for it.

Le Warehouse

Le Warehouse Golden square mile

1446 Rue Crescent

Come here for dinner with a group of friends and split a bunch of yummy entrées without denting your wallet too much. It’s worth noting that their drinks menu is also off the charts…

Le Taj

Le Taj storefront

2077 Rue Stanley

Montréal’s reputation as a cultural mosaic is in part due to its wide array of incredible food options no matter where you are in the city. If you’re on the hunt for amazing Indian food, look no further!