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When looking for your first university apartment, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information needed to navigate the housing market. Lease agreements are no exception to this; whether you don’t know who to ask to be a guarantor, how to set up an account with Hydro Quebec, or you’re unsure about what to expect on the lease agreement, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you navigate the complex world of leases with ease.

 

What You’ll Need Before Signing

While many landlords have different requirements for tenants before signing a lease, it’s very common to be asked to provide basic information to prove your reliability and ensure you’ll meet the requirements set out in the lease.

Proof of identity

This is common practice, and while they may ask for proof of your identity, they cannot photocopy or save a photo of it or the information listed on it.

References

You may be asked to provide a reference from a previous landlord, which is why it’s important to stay on good terms with your landlord, or you may be able to send a reference letter with copies of a credit report or a collection of bills you’ve consistently paid.

Credit / Guarantor

As a student, you likely have not rented before or even established much credit yet. You’ll require a guarantor to vouch for you and provide a guarantee that the financial requirements of your lease will be fulfilled.

 

What to Expect on Your Lease

Going over and signing a lease agreement

After viewing an apartment, meeting the landlord or superintendent, and getting pre-approved for the lease, landlords will have you sign a Quebec lease agreement, with an addendum or list of rules and regulations specific to that building that’s added to the end of the lease. Standard information that is covered by lease agreements includes:

The amount of your rent and what it covers

Does it include internet, heating, and hydro? What about snow removal? If your building has amenities, are they included too? If hydro is not included, ask the landlord for the costs or use this resource to estimate your monthly bill if the heat is electric.

Whether or not it’s a joint tenancy

Make note if it’s a joint tenancy, this means all tenants are equally responsible to cover the rent; if one tenant decides to leave then all remaining tenants will need to ensure the full rent continues to be paid. Joint tenants can sign this agreement to establish how they will split the rent.

Building-specific procedures and policies

This can include how to dispose of garbage and on what days it’s collected, if there’s laundry in the building and how much it costs, whether tenant insurance is required, and how the unit is heated, among other things.

Contact information

Who are the building managers? Is there a superintendent on site? Make sure you know who these people are and how to contact them.

Addendum

This will be different on each lease and can include the landlord’s policy on allowances for things like pets, parties, fire escape procedures, accessibility needs, and more.

What to Watch Out For

In Quebec it is not legal for landlords to require a deposit when signing your lease. It is legal for them to require first month’s rent when you sign, which may be paid well in advance of when you actually move. Your first month’s rent functions as a deposit would, which is legal because it’s basically a pre-payment of rent. However, this means your next rent payment will be due on month two of tenancy; make sure you aren’t asked for money beyond the first month’s rent when signing. Additionally:

  • Landlords cannot ask for more than one month’s rent at a time
  • They cannot charge a damage deposit
  • They cannot ask for a key deposit or post-dated cheques

 

Other Things to Know

Beyond the lease agreement, there are other standards and practices that you need to know about when renting an apartment in Quebec.

Evictions

While Quebec renting laws tend to favour the right of tenants to retain occupancy, landlords can legally file for eviction if they wish to subdivide, enlarge substantially, renovate, or change the use of the property. If attempting to evict their tenants, landlords must provide an eviction notice with the reason and the date of the eviction. A landlord must provide the following amount of notice to evict:

  • Six months before, on a lease of six months or more
  • One month before, on a lease of six months or less
  • Six months before, on a lease without a set term.

A tenant then has one month from the time they receive the eviction notice to notify the landlord whether they accept or reject the eviction notice. If a tenant fails to respond appropriately within that window, it is assumed they have accepted the notice to evict.

Subletting

Since many students spend their summers elsewhere, having someone live in your space and supplement your rent can really ease the financial burden. Here’s the form you need for that.

Student on moving day

Moving day

Whether it’s intentional or by coincidence, many leases in Quebec run 12 months long and commonly start anywhere from May 1st to July 1st. This means that move-in day for many people falls on July 1st, Canada Day. If you’re booking a moving truck for that day, you’ll have to prepare well in advance since it is often a day of chaos and mass movement in the province.

 

When to look for apartments

For leases beginning in May, June, or July, make sure you start looking for what’s available in January, that way you won’t get stuck living somewhere you don’t want.

Lease renewals

In Quebec it is typical for your landlord to send you a notice of renewal 6 months or so before your lease ends. Once received, you’ll have 30 days to respond if you are staying or leaving. Without providing notice you may get locked in to an additional year or be forced out earlier than you wanted.

 

Ask Questions

Remember to ask questions about your lease and consult more than just your landlord. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself or seek help when it comes to even basic things like choosing which internet provider to use. If you’re unsure whether something is legally permitted in your lease, check out the website for the Régie, now known as the Tribunal administratif du logement. The Régie holds jurisdiction over all matters relating to renting in Quebec and is an invaluable resource for anyone renting an apartment. They exist to help renters navigate housing and also to enforce legal renting practices. Always refer to the Régie to clarify what is and is not legal, what your rights are, and how to receive legal help in matters of renting.

This space will make you feel right at home in the heart of the city, and it’s so close to campus you could fall out of bed into class.

Your fab 4 squad will absolutely love this charming four bedroom, two bathroom apartment; it’ll have you wishing you could be a student forever (so you could live here forever, of course!)

Enjoy a fully equipped kitchen with brand new, stainless steel appliances, a comfy seating area perfect for hanging out and relaxing, and tons of storage space in every room for all your personal belongings. This unit comes in a captivating burgundy colourway, adding charm and style and making it feel homey and comforting for you and your roomies.

Each bedroom has its own personal study nook for when you need to buckle down for a late-night study sesh, as well as a bed in an alcove with built-in shelving and lighting for late night reading.

THE DETAILS

Each bedroom

🛏️ A bed nestled into an alcove with enough room to store your luggage underneath

💡 An open shelf above the bed with lighting underneath for late night reading or studying

📚 Cabinets (large enough to fit books and anything else you may need) above the bed for extra storage and your fairy lights!

✨ A vanity bedside table, mirror, and cabinet with storage for small personal items, including hooks inside for jewelry and other small items to hang

👚 An armoire with wood laminate doors and a full-length mirror, including roomy drawers, a shoe rack for up to 8 pairs of shoes, and a full-length cabinet with a hanging rack and enough room to fit a laundry hamper inside 

🪑 A study nook fully equipped with a desk, chair, lamp, and wall shelves

🎨 A large cork board on the wall making it easy to hang art or photos, and providing solid soundproofing to help roomies & neighbours get along

🖤 Black out curtains for deep sleep when you need to catch up on 💤

🌡️ Thermostat to control the temp for your individual comfort

🎒 Hooks for bags and any stuff you need to grab and go!

 

Bathrooms

🛀 Two bathrooms, one with a shower and one with a bath

💊 A vanity with spacious drawers and a full medicine cabinet for individual storage

🌟 A mirror that lights up so you can get ready in style

🧻 Extra storage for bathroom items, ‘cos nobody wants to run outta TP…

 

Kitchen

💎 Fully equipped with brand new, stainless steel, energy efficient LG appliances, including extra-large fridge, electric stove with a fan, microwave, and dishwasher – no arguing over dishes again!

🔪 Tons of counter space, perfect for cooking by yourself or with your roomies

🍽️ Lots of cabinet space for storing kitchenware

🍳 Spacious corner cabinet with a lazy Susan inside for easy access, great for storing pots and pans or bulkier kitchen items

♻️ Hidden garbage and recycling bins included in the cabinet under the sink

 

Entrance

🧳 Locker-style entrance closet included for each renter’s things

🔮 Large mirror (for last looks before a big night out! 💃)

 

Living room

🛋️ A cozy couch with an ottoman and a chaise lounge for chilling, movie watching and hangs! 

💻 Two laptop tables that can easily be tucked away for extra floor space 

🖼️ A cork board to easily hang up artwork or photos to add your own flair to the space

📺 A TV stand (television not included, so it’s totally up to you and your roomies what screen size or consoles you go for!) 

🍺 A dining area with a table and four chairs for communal meals, studying, or just hanging out…

BUILDING AMENITIES

🧺 Laundry rooms – coin operated

📓 2 Study areas

🛋️ Lounge space

🚴 60 Bike parking spots

🔒 FOB entry front entrance

📹 Security cameras on every floor

🛡️ Security on weekends

📶 Wi-fi

***Disclaimer: Features may differ from how they appear on our website. 

There’s so much your landlord can do for you to make your life easier in the long run, and maintaining a positive relationship with them will further increase the chances of them helping you out when you need it.

Especially when you’re a student, that first or second landlord can make such a big difference when you’re just starting out.

Here are 3 ways your landlord can help you get ahead!

1. Help you grow your credit score

Did you know that in Canada, landlords can file a credit report for you (both good and bad)? If you consistently pay your rent on time they can register your payments, which can help contribute to your credit score. This can be a great way to help you get ahead in the future when looking for apartments and getting approved for a loan, or even a mortgage.

Building and maintaining a good credit score is an important identifying factor of how financially responsible you are. What better way to build a credit score for the first time than with your rent payments!

Check out the Landlord Credit Bureau for more information on how to build your credit in partnership with your landlord.

Tenant and Landlord sitting on a couch looking at a laptop

2. Write a reference letter for your next place

Most landlords will require a reference letter or phone call from your past landlord in order to check your history as a tenant. The rental market is becoming increasingly competitive, so having a landlord recommendation can set you apart from other applicants. Here are a few things that landlords will be looking for from a past landlord reference:

  1. Do you pay your rent on time?
  2. Did you communicate well?
  3. How well did you maintain the unit?
  4. Was there damage to the property and did they need to use the damage deposit (if applicable)?
  5. Would they rent to you again?

Typically landlords will help out great tenants when they’re looking to move to a new place. Maintaining a positive relationship throughout your tenancy is key to getting these recommendations. Landlords are very much aware of the fact that you won’t live there forever, so don’t hesitate to ask them for a reference.

Person writing letter

3. Be a character reference for a job or other application

What person thinks you’re more qualified and responsible than your landlord (other than maybe your Mom)? Through the course of a year, the average Canadian student pays between $7,100 and $10,500 in rent to their landlord. Making this kind of payment consistently and on time can really leave an impression on property owners. Add in professional communication and taking care of their unit, and you have a perfect recipe for a character reference! Character references are often needed for new jobs, loans, or other positions. Who knows, if your landlord owns a company, they may even think of you when looking for an employee some day!

If you’re still new to renting and don’t have a landlord to help you with these items yet, don’t worry! You can always ask the landlord or property owner of an apartment you’re interested in renting if they would be willing to accept a co-signer or guarantor on the lease. This is common when renting a place for the first time.

Tenant and Landlord shaking hands

Just remember, a tenant-landlord relationship is just as important as any other business or professional relationship. Be a great tenant and take care of their unit, and they can help you, too!

Maintaining great terms with your landlord can be beneficial to you as a tenant for so many reasons. Head over to our article on 5 ways students can build a great relationship with landlords for more tips!

 

 

References:

Bay Property Management Group. (2021, April 15). Top 3 things to ask your prospective tenant’s references. Bay Property Management Group. Retrieved from https://www.baymgmtgroup.com/blog/top-3-things-ask-prospective-tenants-references/.

Gouvernement du Canada. (2020, May 13). Government of Canada. Canada.ca. Retrieved from https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/credit-report-score-basics.html.

Tenant Benefits. Landlord Credit Bureau. (2021, August 26). Retrieved from https://landlordcreditbureau.com/tenants/.

TransUnion. (n.d.). 5 things landlords look for when screening potential tenants. Retrieved from https://www.transunion.com/blog/credit-advice/5-things-landlords-look-for-when-screening-potential-tenants.

All relationships take work, but one relationship that’s definitely worth investing in is your relationship with your landlord. You want to remain on good terms with them, since it can be crucial to get an excellent reference when apartment hunting in the future. Building a great relationship with your landlord also means they’re more likely to address your concerns promptly, and they’ll probably be more forgiving when it comes to emergencies or rent issues.

Here are five ways to ensure a great landlord-tenant relationship…

Landlord shaking tenant's hand and smiling

1. Pay your rent on time

Each month you should be paying your rent on time and in full on the due date. Sounds simple enough, right? When a property owner or landlord signs a lease with you, they expect your rent to come in on time in full each month. They also have mortgages, utilities, and other bills to pay for the property, so they count on your rent to get their bills paid.

Don’t forget: a lease is a legally binding document that outlines all expectations of renting an apartment. It might be obvious, but paying rent on time can really go a long way. If they have to ask you every month because you’re late, it sets a bad tone for the dynamic.

If for some reason you have an emergency or a major issue that will delay your payment as a one-off exception, communicate clearly with them with as much advance notice as possible. Help them understand the problem and negotiate something that works for you both so they know exactly when you’ll make the payment up. Stick to your agreement so they see you honour that exception.

2. Take care of your unit

Sometimes landlords don’t even get to see the inside of their units once a tenant moves in, so how can they be expected to take care of your unit? They rely on you to submit maintenance requests and to let them know when something needs repairs or replacement.

Reporting a typical maintenance task like a leaky pipe or pests could save them thousands in the long run. I bet you’re wondering what this has to do with you… Well, unexpected maintenance costs are a main driver in rent increases! It may seem worth putting it off, but if you treat the unit like you own it your landlords will be super grateful.

3. Follow the rules

Most apartments have neighbours, so as the Golden Rule goes – treat others the way you want to be treated. Isn’t it annoying to hear music blasting when you’re beyond stressed trying to study for exams?! Your neighbour probably thinks so too. Make sure you review all building rules set out in your lease to ensure that all tenants’ expectations are met.

Student sitting on bed with laptop

4. Help your landlord take care of the building

Sometimes you may have an in-building super, but that isn’t always the case. If you see anything that may be a cause for concern, like damage in the common areas, excess garbage, or malfunctioning laundry machines, let your landlord know! It’s likely that other tenants walked right by thinking that the landlord is already aware of these issues. The sooner issues are reported, the quicker they can be fixed.

Additionally, keep your eyes peeled for anyone who doesn’t look like they should be in the building. Oftentimes doors are propped open which could lead to unwanted people entering the building. No one wants their Amazon delivery boxes stolen from their doorway, so close and secure the doors whenever possible. Reminder: you don’t have to get yourself into any uncomfortable confrontations with other residents or visitors. Just send a quick note to the management team and they’ll know how to handle it.

5. Be respectful

Remember, landlords are people too. If an issue arises it’s probably a surprise to them too, so give them a chance to find a solution before getting upset. Not all requests are urgent, so give your landlord enough time to respond and deal with the issue. Some requests can’t be fixed in a day, but they should be offering you an appropriate solution to help you out. Like most interactions in life, you’re more likely to get help from others if you lead with compassion and empathy!

A lot of the time it’s worth making a great connection with your landlord, but it’s important to remember that every relationship is a two-way street. Sometimes a landlord just isn’t a great landlord, no matter how great of a tenant you are. If that’s the case and you feel that they aren’t meeting their end of the bargain, it may be time to move on to a new place. At a minimum, they should be getting all maintenance completed, communicating with you on issues in the building, and maintaining their property. It’s just as important to recognize your rights as a tenant and to advocate for yourself when necessary.

Landlord shaking tenant's hand and handing over key

Why is this relationship so important? Find out 3 ways landlords can help you – you never know when they may come in useful in future!

Only steps away from McGill’s Roddick Gates, this apartment is the perfect place for four students to get settled in and make the most of their university experience.

You and your roomies will have a blast cooking together and taking advantage of the kitchen’s big, brand new stainless steel appliances, even if you just defrost a few frozen meals or throw together some ramen (your kitchen secrets are safe with us 🤫).

With high ceilings, a breathtaking sapphire blue colourway, a spacious bright living room including gorgeous Peel street-facing bay windows (the only unit with bay windows in the whole building!) and enough room to bring in your own additional furniture if you so please… This unit is ideal for hosting small gatherings, whether a cozy movie night or a productive study sesh. Although, since this apartment is conveniently right by one of LeMildoré’s common study rooms, you and your roomies can easily enjoy the best of both worlds.

 

THE DETAILS

Each bedroom

🛏️ A bed nestled into an alcove with enough room to store your luggage underneath

💡 An open shelf above the bed with lighting underneath for late night reading or studying

📚 Cabinets (large enough to fit books and anything else you may need) above the bed for extra storage and your fairy lights!

✨ A vanity bedside table, mirror, and cabinet with storage for small personal items, including hooks inside for jewelry and other small items to hang

👚 An armoire with wood laminate doors and a full-length mirror, including roomy drawers, a shoe rack for up to 8 pairs of shoes, and a full-length cabinet with a hanging rack and enough room to fit a laundry hamper inside 

🪑 A study nook fully equipped with a desk, chair, lamp, and wall shelves

🎨 A large cork board on the wall making it easy to hang art or photos, and providing solid soundproofing to help roomies & neighbours get along

🖤 Black out curtains for deep sleep when you need to catch up on 💤

🌡️ Thermostat to control the temp for your individual comfort

🎒 Hooks for bags and any stuff you need to grab and go!

 

Bathrooms

🛀 Two bathrooms, one with a shower and one with a bath

💊 A vanity with spacious drawers and a full medicine cabinet for individual storage

🌟 A mirror that lights up so you can get ready in style

🧻 Extra storage for bathroom items, ‘cos nobody wants to run outta TP…

 

Kitchen

💎 Fully equipped with brand new, stainless steel, energy efficient LG appliances, including extra-large fridge, electric stove with a fan, microwave, and dishwasher – no arguing over dishes again!

🔪 Tons of counter space, perfect for cooking by yourself or with your roomies

🍽️ Lots of cabinet space for storing kitchenware

🍳 Spacious corner cabinet with a lazy Susan inside for easy access, great for storing pots and pans or bulkier kitchen items

♻️ Hidden garbage and recycling bins included in the cabinet under the sink

 

Entrance

🧳 Locker-style entrance closet included for each renter’s things

🔮 Large mirror (for last looks before a big night out! 💃)

 

Living room

🛋️ A cozy couch with an ottoman and a chaise lounge for chilling, movie watching and hangs! 

💻 Two laptop tables that can easily be tucked away for extra floor space 

🖼️ A cork board to easily hang up artwork or photos to add your own flair to the space

📺 A TV stand (television not included, so it’s totally up to you and your roomies what screen size or consoles you go for!) 

🍺 A dining area with a table and four chairs for communal meals, studying, or just hanging out…

 

BUILDING AMENITIES

🧺 Laundry rooms – coin operated

📓 2 Study areas

🛋️ Lounge space

🚴 60 Bike parking spots

🔒 FOB entry front entrance

📹 Security cameras on every floor

🛡️ Security on weekends

📶 Wi-fi

***Disclaimer: Features may differ from how they appear on our website.