Quebec 102: Cost of Renting an Apartment in Montreal

Screen shot of Craigslist properties in Montreal Screen shot of Craigslist property postings in Montreal by area

Renting a place and signing a lease in Montreal can be a bit of a legal minefield. We’ll be running a series on everything you’d like to know about renting in Montreal.

This first installment is about price. What can you expect to pay for an apartment each month in Montreal?

Compared to many cities, Montreal, fortunately, has plenty of space for rent. On Kijiji today there were 26,007 units listed for Greater Montreal, a minimum of 2,500 postings on craigslist, and you can look for yourself at the postings on sites like McGill off-campus housing, Concordia’s off-campus housing, UQAM’s off-campus housing,  U de M’s housing site. Or if nothing pops in any of those, try aggregators like padmapper, rentseeker, and countless others that can be found by google searching. In short, you won’t have trouble finding rentable places.

Because there are so many units, Montreal rent remains fairly cheap compared to Toronto or Vancouver. According to the site Rent Seeker, Montreal has some of the cheapest rental apartments in the country. But don’t book that Christmas vacation to Rio on monies saved on rent just yet. Sadly, the golden days of $300 for a two bedroom apartment are long gone, and even plunking down $1000 a month won’t get you a palace. With a cheaper apartment, you generally get what you pay for — bad plumbing, noise, no light, no space, questionable safety features, broken electrics, insane landlords, poor access to public transit, lack of amenities. Yes, there are exceptions, but people tend to hoard these places for years at a time. Take note, though, paying a lot for an apartment doesn’t a guarantee that you will be free from the same set of problems. Finding a space you can live in comfortably might involve involve coughing up more than you want each month and taking a bit of time to evaluate the place you’re about to sign a lease for.

Different neighbourhoods run at different prices. Surprise? No, not really. The most expensive neighbourhoods are some of the most popular: the Plateau, Mile End, St. Henri, Centre Ville, Outremont, Westmount, and Ile des Soeurs. The least expensive neighbourhoods are more poorly served by public transport or are mostly reached via bus: Lachine, Longueuil, Montreal Nord, the West Island, the South Shore. You can see the maps of public transport HERE.

Screen shot of Craigslist properties in Montreal

Screen shot of the number of Craigslist property postings in Montreal by location/neighbourhood

To give you some sense of prices, we did a bit of kijiji and craigslist hunting and compiled this not very scientific chart of apartment prices based on what was on kijiji today.

apartment prices for Montreal from kijiji search

Chart of apartment prices for Montreal from kijiji search conducted in August 2015

These charts only tell part of the story, of course. They are tainted by the fact that there are plenty of Air bnb listings in there as well as people who list rentals for a week or a day at a time. In fact, the most livable places tend to fall at the higher end of the scales suggested above. Looking at the site numbeo, which looks at cost of living, the average cost for a one-bedroom (3 1/2) city centre apartment is $942.83, and a three-bedroom (5 1/2) is $1754.31. Expatisan gives $1520 for a 900 sq ft. apartment in Montreal. So,

Some other things you can expect to pay for when you rent if they aren’t already included: hydro/heat/electricity, water, internet, phone, apartment insurance. Some landlords ask for first month’s rent up-front (legal), and may charge for a credit check (also legal), and ask for you to have someone endorse your lease.

Although there are bunch of laws around renting in Montreal, a number of landlords pretty much ignore these. Some of the things they will charge for that they shouldn’t: payments that exceed one month of rent, extra deposits beyond the 1st month’s rent, post-dated cheques, payment for a lease transfer. Journal de Montreal did an expose on this HERE.

A good site with information about renting in Montreal is likehome. Click HERE to access. Quebec’s Regie du Logement is HERE. The CHMC has its own bit of information HERE. Legal clinic from McGill HERE. Legal clinic for Mile End HERE. Other neighbourhoods have similar. Arnold Bennett is Montreal’s kick ass tenant rights activist and advisor who runs a hotline and offers consultations at the YMCA Downtown (1440 Stanley). His page and info is HERE.


About Rachel Levine

Rachel Levine is the big cheese around here. Contact: Website | More Posts