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Important things to consider when looking for apartments

It is important to visit several apartments before signing a lease. Do not sign a lease without visiting the accommodation first. Price and the description in the ad are no guarantees of quality. If you cannot come to Montreal to look for accommodation, have someone visit the accommodation on your behalf. Please be advised, however, that most landlords or people looking for roommates will not sign a lease with someone they have never met in person.

Before committing yourself to a lease, several items should be checked. Be certain of your choice before signing a lease or filling out an application because, once signed, these are both legally binding contracts. When visiting an apartment, sometimes students do not feel comfortable being thorough in their inspection by doing things like opening the fridge, closets and cupboards -- especially if the tenant is still living in the apartment. Remember, you are signing a 12 month contract, and you have the right to check everything in the apartment.

Use this detailed checklist to bring with you on your apartment visits:

If you would prefer to have an excel chart to work with, a less detailed form is also available here:

 Detailed apartment evaluation [.pdf]

 Apartment checklist chart [.pdf]

A few questions to ask a prospective landlord before signing a lease

  • Are there other students living in the building?
  • Have there been any major repairs or renovations done in the past year?
  • Are any major repairs anticipated for the upcoming year?
  • Who will be responsible for repairs, including small ones?
  • Will any repairs, including small ones, that are to be completed before I move in, be put in writing?
  • Is there a phone number at which the landlord or superintendent can be reached in case of emergency?
  • How is rent payment to be made (by mail, by giving it to the janitor or directly to the landlord)?
  • Where is the nearest laundromat if there are no laundry facilities in the building?
  • How long did the last tenant stay, and what rent did she or he pay?
  • How often does the nearest bus run?

Additional resources

TV McGill and Off Campus Housing are proud to bring you two great videos to help you with your housing search:

A Student's Guide to Renting An Apartment
follows a student as she visits a typical apartment and gives you tips on what to look for and what to avoid!

Apartment Hunting FAQ features McGill students asking tough questions and getting the answers they need!

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