Credits: Kira Leinonen, Natalie Cross, Peter Lavoie, Charmaine Peters, Pamela Chiniah, Tim Reyes, In-Ting Ho
Duration: 14:08
Posted: 06.25.10

McGill Off Campus Housing - A Student’s Guide to Renting an Apartment.

Apartment hunting doesn’t have to be a stressful. The McGill Off Campus Housing shows how to find the perfect apartment for you.

  • Paul Ballard

    Best treatment of this subject I’ve seen. I am speaking from a parent perspective. I believe this is a must-see and invaluable resource for everyone striking out on their own for the first time. Good luck.

  • Amalia

    …that the narrator concludes by saying “You might have to do a lot of cleaning when you move in.” Isn’t it customary for rental agencies to require outgoing tenants or the building caretakers to clean the apartment before a new tenant moves in…? Generally, new tenants should not have to clean up the messes left behind by previously inhabitants!

    • Rob

      Amalia, there is no cleaning deposit or security deposit in Quebec. This usually leads to people not caring about anything when they leave. A landlord could technically go to the Regie du logement if the previous tenant leaves items behind. Apart from that, new tenants should be prepared to clean.

      • Pam

        The word cleaniless does not have the same meaning for everyone and is such a grey zone. It does not have to do anything with whether there is a cleaning deposit in Quebec or not . Landlord has to delivery a clean apartment to a tenant RIGHT but what is clean for the landlord might not be clean ENOUGH for a tenant and that is why the narrator concludes by saying “You might have to do a lot of cleaning when you move in”.
        We all agree the level of cleanliness is the same for everyone, so be prepare to do some cleaning when you move in that way you will not be …..

  • E

    I applaud everyone who made this video. If the “landlord” is an actor, kudos to him for generally capturing the personality and timely “forgetfulness” of most Montreal landlords. Also, the apartment is pretty indicative of what’s available in the McGill Ghetto. Dirty, falling apart, old appliances, etc, etc. Fact is that if you live in the Ghetto, you are overpaying. Period. Being able to walk to school in winter has a certain appeal, to be sure, but if you are willing to live a 20-30 min metro/bus trip away, you will get more for your money, and potentially live in a more “Quebecois” neighbourhood, assuming you’re not purposely trying to avoid francophones while you live here (not a joke….some people are.)

    I have to say, however, that I feel the video is unrealistic in terms of how much landlords will accommodate you. Some apartments are shown to 10 or more people (often 4-5 at a time) and it will be the person with the fewest demands and acts the quickest who will make it through to the final lease signing stage (assuming their credit and/or references are good.) Asking for floors or pipes to be changed as a condition of you moving in will 100% guarantee you don’t get the place, because there is always someone who will be fine with them at the asking price.

    Also, if you’e signing a lease and you haven’t already seen the laundry facilities, you probably failed at using the checklist that Natalie mentions near the beginning. Also, checking the general repair of the building is a good way to gauge how the landlord will respond to your maintenance requests.

    In Quebec, I would say that the biggest problem is that there are no security/damage deposits, and therefore no incentive to do move-in/move-out inspections. If a tenant breaks something, the landlord will have a hard time recuperating them money because the tenant will say “it was always that way”. So landlords will often let places fall into disrepair and not fix things until they start impacting the landlord’s ability to rent the place for the $$ they want.

    Generally, students would be much better served by renting a two-bedroom with another person. You have to share common areas and especially kitchen/bathroom, but you’re also sharing cost of any Internet, landline phone, TV, electricity, dishes, cleaning supplies, and even food if you want to. So long as you find someone who is quiet at night, and who helps keep the place clean, you probably won’t see them enough to care about much else (if you’re studying on campus and enjoying a social life outside of your apartment, which is a must in Montreal.) Also, because the rents are higher, there is less competition in the market, and the tenants have a bit more leverage to get things fixed (things like locks, faucets, lights, etc….you still won’t get the floors redone as a condition of moving in…I’m almost laughing at that one.)

    As an aside, the video is correct that the Social Insurance Number (just “SIN”…not “SIN number”) should not be given out, and all efforts should be made to provide something else, if possible.

    Best of luck!

    • Pam

      I do not agree with the part where you say “I feel the video is unrealistic in terms of how much landlords will accommodate you”. This video was done to help students with their housing search, remember the clientele are students who either never rent out or live in an apartment before. They need to know that it is OK to ask the landlord to fix XYZ. Some students might be under the impression that they will get the apartment in the condition it is (when I say students I am taking about in province, out of province and international as well) and that they cannot demand any repairs. And also if a tenant do not ask the landlord to make repairs how will the landlord know that the tenant is not comfortable with the issue/s in th apartment.
      Tenants have rights and landlords have responsibilities, if tenants do not ask landlords will not know what is needed.
      Good luck.

  • Joe

    What is the norm for length of leases in Montreal? Are they all 12 months? And if so, do students usually sign a lease starting in September, or is it more common to sign a lease when other students move out of their units at the end of the academic year?


  • Pamela

    Hello Everyone,
    We strongly suggest you contact the Off Campus Housing team at 514-398-6010 or if you have any questions on renting in Montreal or tenant’s & landlord’s rights and obligations OR visit our website at

    McGill Off Campus Housing team

  • mtlmtlmtl

    There’s a couple of details that should be added for searching apartments in Montreal. First of all is the number of rooms. In Quebec, people say “2 1/2″ instead of one bedroom. Usually, the number of “closed” bedrooms is the number before the 1/2 minus 2. The exceptions are 1 1/2 which is a studio (open bedroom / living room / kitchen) and the 2 1/2 which is usually a one bedroom and open living room / kitchen. So a 5 1/2 usually has two closed bedrooms, a separate kitchen and a separate living room.

    In recent years, landlords have increased prices dramatically on larger apartments (but not as much on smaller apartments). A lot of larger apartments have been converted into condos in the most popular neighbourhoods like the Plateau so there aren’t as many of those available. The ones that haven’t been converted are also expensive because landlords seem to take for granted that they’ll be shared so they hiked up the prices. A 5 1/2 use to go for 550$ to 650$ a month back in the day (not so long ago), now they are above 1000$ or more.

    A video showing the different neighbourhoods would also be nice.

    For more information and for apartment listings in Montreal, you can check out