What do I do if I am only staying for 4 or 8 month?
Your housing search will depend upon your academic term at McGill University and the temporary nature of your stay in the city will require you to have some flexibility in your search process. As most leases for apartment runs for 12 month in Quebec we recommend you search for “Roommate Wanted” or “Room to Rent” ads.
Can I just sign a 12 month lease and then just break it when I leave?
No. If you sign a lease for 12 months, you are legally responsible for the payment of rent for those 12 month or the length stipulated in the lease. You cannot break a lease in Quebec, even with a notice of intention to terminate three months before the end of the lease.
When sharing with other students or renting a room in a house, do I need a contract?
Any person who is living in an apartment and renting with other people should be signed onto a lease. This makes it easier to ensure that all parties are being treated equally and fairly in terms of responsibility. You also want to make sure that it is clearly stated in the lease how much each person is responsible for paying and the length of the lease.
Do I have to notify my landlord if I am not returning or if I want to renew?
Absolutely! In the province of Quebec, your lease is automatically renewed if you do not advise your landlord in advance. You have to tell them in writing, at least 3 months before the end of the lease if you are not returning. If you fail to do so and still want to leave, the landlord has the right to lock you into a new lease for a whole other year.
Am I still responsible for the lease if I sublet?
When you sublet the apartment or room, you are still signed on to the lease. It would be like you are still the tenant, but someone else is paying you while you aren't living there. If you do a lease transfer, you absolve all responsibility from your lease and give it to someone else. A sublet is good for when you are only going away for a few months, whereas a lease transfer would be if you want to leave your lease early.
When is a good time to start looking for an apartment?
If you are in residences, you don’t want to start looking before January or February if your lease ends April 30th. We recommend giving yourself no more than 2 months before the start of your lease. You also want to make sure that you look at a minimum of 5 apartments before signing any lease. There could always be something better out there.
Does the rent stay the same every year?
If you landlord does any repairs in your building or unit then they can increase the rent but before they do so, they have to notify you in advance with written warning. You have the right to contest the rent if you feel like it is too high or provide written notice of non-renewal.
Not a Canadian citizen/resident with no credit history in Canada?
The landlord will only be able to check Canadian credit during the application process. This means that if you do not have a history of credit in Canada, you will need to make arrangements with the landlord. Typically, landlord will ask for a larger deposit from international students with no Canadian credit (Canadian students would pay 1s month’s rent, international may be asked to pay more depending on the landlord), or the landlord may ask for other financial information from either the student/parent.
Not having Canadian credit will not prevent you from being able to rent an apartment; it may just take a little longer to sort out your application.
What is a roommate agreement?
A roommate agreement is a document that you will write up with your future roommates detailing important responsibilities such as payment of rent, cleaning schedules and house rules. You would all sign it and attach it to your lease. It allows you to have these important discussions before you move in to make sure that you are going to be living with people you get along with for the length of your lease.
If you have any other questions, come by our office at 3415 McTavish, call us at 514-398-6368 or send us an email at Offcampus.housing [at] mcgill.ca