Off-Campus Housing Related Resources During COVID-19

Moving to a new city during a global pandemic can be a stressful and confusing time. That is why we have created this guide about transitioning to Montreal during Covid-19. In this guide you will find information on how to find and rent an apartment in Montreal, as well as how to be a good neighbour, precautions you can take to keep yourself and others safe, and a host of legal resources. If after going through this guide you still have questions about the renting process in Quebec, feel free to reach out to us at offcampus.housing [at] mcgill.ca and we will be happy to answer your questions or forward them to someone who can. 


On this page: Resources for Finding an Apartment | Factors that Influence Rent | Montreal BoroughsPrecautions for Visiting Apartments During COVID-19How To Be A Good Neighbour/Roommate During COVID-19Legal Resources for RentingRights of the Lessee


Resources for Finding an Apartment

Websites for Finding an Apartment

There are many websites that can be used to help you find housing in the Montreal area. Here is a list of some of the most popular websites that students use:

  1. Places4Students: Places4Students has partnered with McGill University making this a more secure website to find apartment listings.
  2. McGill’s Housing Facebook Page: Ads for rental listings are moderated on this Facebook page and only members of the McGill community are part of this page, making it a more secure place to find apartment listings.
  3. Louer.com
  4. Kijiji.com
  5. Craigslist.com
  6. Zumper.com
  7. Padmapper.com
  8. Rentals.ca
  9. Student.com
  10. Nestpick
  11. Service Info-logement of the Centre de réadaptation Lucie-Bruneau for Accessible Housing (for those who need help finding accessible housing)

*Please note: this is not an exhaustive list of resources available to aid in your search for an apartment

A Note about Scams: 

Occasionally, you will hear about scams and fraud attempts on the internet. Here are a few potential situations to be cautious of and avoid:

  • The landlord is out-of-country and unable to show the property personally. A security deposit or first month's rent is requested first, before the student can 'view' the property. Similarly, if the landlord is MIA and you meet a person who is pretending to be a tenant or the landlord, but they have no affiliation with the property. Sometimes the person in question has found an apartment they know to be empty, or have broken the locks on the apartment showing it as their own leaving you (the lessee) to later find they do not own the property, or it is already rented out to someone else (The Good Neighbour Guide: Living & Renting In Montreal).
  • The landlord asks a student to 'wire' them money.
  • The landlord states an 'agency' will show the property and deliver the keys. If the property is privately owned and not operated by a property management company, confirm that the agent represents a reputable leasing company first.
  • You should never have to pay “Finder’s Fees” to secure the lease for an apartment. The scam here is that you are paying money to secure an apartment that you otherwise shouldn’t have to pay, and additionally, if the landlord is not made aware of this they could still rent out the apartment anyways even though you already put money towards getting the place (The Good Neighbour Guide: Living & Renting In Montreal).
  • Be aware of pictures that seem too good to be true. If you feel like an apartment looks too good in pictures always feel free to ask for more photos or videos of the place PRIOR to paying a security deposit or the first month’s rent. Beware if the person you’re renting from seems unaccommodating to requests for more photos of the property (The Good Neighbour Guide: Living & Renting In Montreal).
  • In Quebec, you ARE NOT required to pay any money in advance to your landlord other than the first month's rent however, landlords can ask for deposits for furniture if the apartment is furnished. Anyone who asks for fees other than those mentioned above. (The Good Neighbour Guide: Living & Renting In Montreal).
Tips for Avoiding Internet Scams & Fraud:

Here are a few tips to help you avoid scams online during your hunt for an apartment:

  1. When in doubt, check it out! Nearly all scammers we have encountered operate out of foreign countries, claiming to be landlords that are temporarily living outside of North America. Their emails are often full of grammatical and spelling errors and they request a deposit before the potential tenant has had a chance to preview the rental property.
  2. Never wire funds (using Western Union or any other carrier) to anyone claiming to be a landlord currently living in a foreign country.
  3. Never give out personal financial information (checking account number, SSN, SIN etc.).
  4. Trust your instincts. If something seems strange, or you don't feel completely comfortable with a landlord, do not rent from him/her and discontinue further correspondence.
  5. Be cautious when detailed information, personal photos or property pictures, etc. are provided without requesting it, as this is typical scammer behavior.
Legal Illegal
Ask for a reference or a credit check Ask for credit card #'s, passport #'s, bank account #'s, SIN #'s pr any info about nationality or citizenship
Require a co-signer for students without income Ask for post-dated cheques
Ask for first month's rent upfront Ask for last-month's rent at the beginning of the lease
Ask for a furniture deposit if the apartment is furnished Ask for any deposit other than first month's rent

To find more information about scams and internet fraud, check out the "Safety & Security" section of the Good Neighbour Guide.

If you suspect that you have been targeted by a rental scam, report it to your local law enforcement agency immediately.


Factors that Influence Rent

Location

Montreal is broken into many different boroughs and sections. Depending on where you live in the city, the rent will vary accordingly. The closer you are to any major university campus in Montreal the higher the cost of rent.

Utilities

This includes things like heat, hot water, electricity, and Wi-Fi. You may have to pay separately for these things on top of the cost of your rent. Additionally, when you heat or cool your apartment it is likely that your cost of hydro will go up a significant amount. If you are worried about having to pay extra for these things you can search for apartments that list the utilities as “all-inclusive” meaning they are included in the overall cost of rent.

Number of People Sharing the Apartment

The more people who live in an apartment the cheaper your overall share of rent will be. For example, if you lived in a 3 bedroom apartment with 2 of your friends and the rent was 1,300$, each of you would be paying 433$ compared to if you lived in a one bedroom apartment by yourself and were paying 750$.


Montreal's Boroughs

Below is a list of the various boroughs around Montreal. Click on each neighbourhood to learn more about the cost, availability, distance, and notable landmarks of each neighborhood.


Precautions for Visiting Apartments During COVID-19

The safest way to view an apartment during this complicated time would be via online as opposed to in person, however we acknowledge many people will likely still want to view apartments in person. If you are uncomfortable visiting an apartment in-person during this time, know that it is your right to be able to ask to have an online viewing session. This is both beneficial for those who are taking extra precautions to keep themselves safe, as well as international students who are not physically in Montreal to view apartments.

In-Person Visits Virtual Apartment Viewings

There are several precautions you should take, should you choose to visit an apartment in-person:

  • Wear your mask (it is now mandatory in any indoor spaces in Quebec)
  • Wear gloves
  • Bring hand sanitizer
  • Don’t touch anything, ask the people who are there to open things and check if things work for you
  • Bring a checklist of all the things you want to look at and ask about
    • Checklist can be found here
  • Try not to spend more time in the apartment than you need to
  • If you are searching with roommates, limit the number of members who go to visit an apartment together to 1 (if possible) or 2 (at the maximum).

Here are some tips for virtually viewing apartments via, Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, etc.:


How To Be A Good Neighbour/Roommate During COVID-19

It is always important to be respectful and kind to those living around you, especially during these unprecedented times. Below are some tips on how you can be a good neighbour and roommate.

  1. Ask your roommates before inviting others into your home
  2. Make sure you are keep common spaces clean
  3. Come up with a policy on what to do with packages when they are delivered to your home, will you leave them outside for a set amount of days?
  4. Respect your neighbours by keeping noise to a minimum
  5. Understand that what’s happening in the world is difficult for everybody
  6. Maintain physical distancing inside your building
    1. Don’t go into the hallway if someone else is in the hall, wait until they leave
    2. If someone is going into the elevator wait for the next one or take the stairs if possible so there isn’t two people in a small space
    3. Wear a mask in your building
  7. Be aware of the safety measures in your building
    1. Where are the emergency exits?
    2. Does the fire alarm work?
    3. How could I make this space safer for both myself and my roommates?
  8. Find out when the garbage and recycling pick-up days are in your neighbourhood and abide by them
  9. Make sure you have all the tools and cleaning supplies available to keep your apartment clean

Legal Resources for Renting

If you are confused about leasing or the renting process there are many legal resources available to you.

Check-out our Housing & Covid-19: Renting and Legal Rights Webinar in collaboration with Student Housing & Hospitality Services and the Legal Information Clinic at McGill. In this webinar we discuss how to look for an apartment during the pandemic as well as the legal process behind renting an apartment.

The Legal Information Clinic at McGill provides free legal information, referrals, and community services to the McGill and Montreal communities, with a continuing commitment to meeting the needs of marginalized groups. If you have a specific question about the rental process and are unable to find information about it online, scheduling a meeting with an advisor could help you. To schedule a consultation with them you can fill out the intake form on their website here.

The Tribunal administratif du Logement is the body that governs the relationship between property owners and tenants. You can find information on their website about tenant rights, landlord rights, COVID-19 updates, information about leases and different applications related to abandonment, unpaid rent and modification of the lease. If you have a question about leases, it will likely be answered by searching through the information on their website.

Project Genesis provides (currently by telephone only) free-of-charge, confidential help in areas such as housing, welfare, pensions, and family allowances (please see the full list below). Their services are available to everyone; for example, they do not refuse service based on immigration status, age, religion, country of origin, neighbourhood in which you live, income or housing situation. They provide information to help people understand their legal rights and responsibilities. They also offer different types of assistance to ensure that people’s rights are respected and that they have access to the benefits and services for which they are eligible.

Individuals between the ages of 12-25 are able to access the Legal Services Coordinator for free. The legal Services Coordinator can help answer questions about housing law and can inform you about the renting process in Montreal. Check out their website for more information. You can contact the Legal Assistant Coordinator at legalassist [at] headandhands.ca.

This website provides easy-to-understand information about a broad range of legal topics, including housing law. Check-out their Guide to Rental Housing to find out more information on renting and leasing in Quebec.

 


Rights of the Lessee

Main Obligations of the Lessee During the Lease Main Obligations of the Lessee at the End of the Lease
  1. To pay the agreed rent on the agreed date (art. 1855 C.C.Q.)
  2. 2. To use the dwelling with prudence and diligence (art. 1855 C.C.Q.)
  3. Not to change the form or destination of the dwelling (art. 1856 C.C.Q.)
  4. To maintain the dwelling in clean condition (art. 1911 C.C.Q.)
  5. To respect the laws pertaining to the safety and sanitation of the dwelling (art. 1912 par. 1 C.C.Q.)
  6. To make the lesser maintenance repairs in certain cases (art. 1864 C.C.Q.)
  7. To allow urgent and necessary repairs (art. 1865 C.C.Q.)
  8. To allow the lessor to verify the condition of the dwelling, to have it visited by a prospective acquirer, the posting of signs and its visit to a prospective lessee and the work to be done (art. 1857, 1930 C.C.Q.)
  9. Not to change the locks of the dwelling (art. 1934 C.C.Q.)
  10. To act in such a way as not to disturb the normal enjoyment of the other lessees or of the lessor (art. 1860 C.C.Q.)
  11. To inform the lessor about a serious defect or deterioration (art. 1866 C.C.Q.)
  1. To remove all his movable effects (art. 1978 C.C.Q.)
  2. To leave the dwelling in the condition in which he received it (art. 1890 and art. 1891 C.C.Q.)

This guide is a collaboration between the Campus Life & Engagement office and our friends at the Student Housing & Hospitality office. We thank all parties involved for their work in creating this resource.

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