Montreal has a lot going for it as a destination to relocate to or study in. The second largest French speaking city in the world after Paris, it has a French, cosmopolitan atmosphere and plenty of culture. It is a safe, clean city with good employment prospects, great nightlife, and plenty to do. If you are planning to move to Montreal or are considering it among other relocation options, one thing you will obviously need to deal with is finding somewhere to live. Just like anywhere else, you can easily look at listings for all kinds of different homes online wherever you are based, but as with looking at things in any city you are not accustomed to yet, understanding what to expect when you try to buy one of the many condos in Montreal or rent an apartment before you begin your search is important.
What Is the Deal With the Ads?
If you are used to seeing advertisements for places to rent in some kind of size unit like square feet or meters, then Montreal ads may look pretty strange to you at first. Here, apartments and houses are advertised by number of rooms, without the size. In some ways this is more helpful as a huge apartment won’t house your family of four if it only has one bedroom and the rest is a big open plan living space, but of course, without knowing how big the rooms are it can be hard to get an idea of what to expect from the ad alone. You can of course, inquire about how large the rooms mentioned are when you call the agent or landlord.
Another odd thing about the ads is that you will quite often see a number of rooms with a ‘½’ in it. This means a bathroom. It is not clear why (in other places where room numbers are listed usually the bathroom isn’t counted), but this is just how it is done! If, therefore, you see an apartment with 1 ½ rooms, this simply means it is a studio with a bathroom.
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In the province of Quebec, there are strict laws about what a landlord can ask of a tenant in terms of advance money, and these actually work in the tenant’s favour. This can be quite a refreshing change if you are used to being charged months of rent in advance and an exorbitant security deposit in your current city! For a normal annual contract, a landlord may ask only for one month’s rent in advance. Security deposits, in the form of reservation fees, can only be requested on furnished properties rented out on a short term, monthly basis.
In general, Montreal is a city that is very fair to its citizens, so you will not find buying or renting to be a particularly harsh process in comparison with many other North American cities. Simply learn the idiosyncrasies of the local real estate culture, and you should find finding the right home a fairly smooth undertaking!