Spend at least 5 days searching before signing for a year!

You’ve just moved to Montreal and naturally your first priority is finding  a place to live. Time is of the essence  and you’re overwhelmed with finding your way around, figuring out your class schedule and settling in. You may be tempted to move into the first place you find in order to get on with your life, but WAIT! Living in Montreal can be an amazing experience, however you should  take a bit of time and do a thorough search in order to find the place where you’ll be spending most of your time. Give yourself at least a week to shop around. You may need to spend a week in temporary lodging, but it might save you a lot of trouble in the long run. Luckily, Montreal has plenty of short term housing options including hostels, AirBnB, couchsurfing and more.


Before you start looking, you may want to define your priorities, figuring out what you need and what you want in your new apartment.  Think of factors such as proximity to a metro or school, having a balcony, water pressure in the shower, whether you need a washer and dryer in the building, etc. Create a housing wish list and let it guide you during your search. You can use the Rental Unit Evaluation Worksheet to help you define your priorities. Understanding what you want and what you are willing to compromise on is the first step in finding the perfect apartment.

While you are visiting the apartments ask your landlord lots of questions about the apartment. You may also want to get a first-hand opinion, in which case you could introduce yourself to the neighbors and get the inside scoop. Tenants living in the building may be in the best position to answer some of your questions. You want to find out as much as possible before signing the lease, and avoid being unpleasantly surprised half-way through the year.

Tip: If the landlord promises to fix or add anything to the apartment make sure that they write it into the lease.

Heads up!

  1. Some apartments with a high volume of applicants may require you to sign application forms prior to signing the actual lease. It is important to know that if you sign a form and the landlord chooses you as the tenant, you are legally obliged to sign the lease. To avoid being stuck with multiple leases, leave an expiration date with your signature at the bottom of the application form, and try to fill out only one at a time.
  2. Whenever you pay for anything apartment-related, make sure you receive detailed receipts. Your receipt should include the date, amount, what it is that you paid for, and the landlord or representatives’ signature or company stamp!
  3. Where to look!
    Take time to discover the city while looking for an apartment! Many apartments up for rent are not listed online and are only advertised through «À Louer» signs in windows or hanging on balconies with the landlord’s contact  number on it. To get a general idea about the various boroughs in Montreal , check out the neighbourhood descriptions!

Temporary housing options

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