Renting Season !!

Winter semester: subzero temperatures, reading week (!!!), the light at the end of the tunnel that is summer vacation and, for many, competing with fellow students as you scour for the perfect apartment. The task is obviously daunting – especially for first-time (or even second-time) renters. Here are a few things to keep at the front of your mind as you search for the ultimate apartment:

Renting the Montreal Way

If you’ve already started skimming through apartments, you may have already come across the confusing numerical system that is the Montreal renting standard. If you’re just as confused as I was about the 3/4/5 ½ etc. that you keep seeing everywhere don’t worry, its actually quite simple. In the most basic sense, each number stands for the number of rooms including a kitchen and living room and the .5 or ½ stands for the bathrooms, even if there is more than one. So, by that logic, a 2 ½ apartment would be a studio, a 3 ½ a one-bedroom apartment, a 4 ½ a two-bedroom etc. Easy peasy!


Furniture is a big point that is often – unfortunately – overlooked by students. While many figure correctly that Ikea or second-hand furniture will be the more cost-effective option, they overlook the shipping, handling and moving fees (not to mention hassle and labor) that inevitably comes along with it. It boils down to this: sometimes opting for a pre-furnished apartment at a higher price point is more expedient than buying your own furniture, moving it in and eventually out – not to mention finding a way to get rid of it after you graduate if you don’t plan on staying in Montreal. Just something to entertain.


Another big thing that you should always consider when you contemplate between apartments is hydro. Make sure to ask the landlord whether hydro is included and if not, how much approximately will that add to the rent. Keep in mind that your bill will differ drastically between the summer and winter months, with many of your bills reaching approx. $500 bi-monthly in the winter due to high heating costs. In order to cross-reference the numbers they give you, check out the hydro bill calculator below at Hydro Quebec, which estimates what your bill could be at a particular postal code:

In Facebook We Trust

Check out McGill housing groups which are plentiful on Facebook. That’s where many landlords that typically rent to students post amazing properties, especially in the Ghetto and Plateau areas and also where many students will offer lease transfers, sublets and more!

Additional Tips

-Don’t forget about the Wifi! Bell and Videotron offer great student deals, but keep in mind the additional cost to your rent if you’re on a budget.

-Choose your roommates carefully! You don’t want to end up losing a great apartment due to conflicts and tensions that could have been avoided in the first place.

-Don’t be afraid to ask questions! There’s no such thing as a dumb question, not when it comes to such a big decision.

-Do your research! Read up on your rights as a tenant in the province to ensure that you aren’t hoaxed into any unsavory situation by the landlord – you’re entitled to more than you know!

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