Renting a property in Montreal means discovering a new vocabulary and the specificities of renting in Quebec. Let's decipher...

To grasp the broad outlines of renting and the specifics of the units, your real estate agency/broker is your guide, and its expertise the key to your perplexity. From the real estate lexicon to the signing of the lease, the differences are sometimes in the details. A small tour of the property and its particularities.

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Semi-detached house, condo, cottage, duplex, furnished or semi-furnished, lease, home insurance… renting in Montreal is decoded thanks to your real estate agency HP & Associés.



After opening a bank account, finding a place to live is often the first essential step. Here is a brief summary of “what to think about” when you arrive in Quebec.


  • Cottage: two-story house
  • Bungalow: single-story house
  • Shoebox: small one-story house with a flat roof
  • Detached house: independent house
  • Semi-detached house: semi-detached house
  • Townhouse: row house
  • Bachelor: basement, semi-basement or small apartment inside a single-family home

Do “plexes” leave you “perplexed”?

Duplex / triplex / quadruplex… what is it? It’s simply a small building of two / three / four units with, often, a brick façade and an exterior spiral staircase. Typical of Montreal, my walls are colorful and plants decorate the balconies!


In order to dive into the flow of the real estate market, take the time to evaluate your housing needs. Our real estate brokers can help you if you have specific criteria or requirements.

What type of home: equipped or not?

New or in need of repair?

In what neighborhood?

Near your child’s school?

Near your workplace?

Close to transportation (bus stop or subway)?

Ideally, there is nothing better than a real visit of the place to know if you are planning to move in or not. The possibility of meeting the owners also opens the door to useful information (such as the habits of the other tenants or the services in the area) and establishes a human link which can prove to be precious.

As for choosing your home – deciphering an ad and identifying its advantages and disadvantages – there is nothing like the knowledgeable eye of a real estate agent. He or she will be able to see what goes unnoticed at first glance: the insulation of the home, its amenities, traces of humidity, the value of the materials and all those little details that make a difference… His or her mastery of real estate language allows him or her to translate the specificities of Quebec. A way to get the home you want and prevent disappointment.

An example? You’ve chosen to rent a first-floor apartment and you find yourself looking down from the street? This is the kind of surprise you could easily do without thanks to an agent. Thus, he will inform you that “the first floor” is not in the Quebec vocabulary. According to an old usage in Quebec, the counting of floors is done from the ground level. Therefore, the first floor is considered the second floor.

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T1 = 1 ½ ?

Instead of T1, T2 or T3 in France… another unit of measurement is adopted in Quebec to indicate the number of rooms: 1 ½, 2 ½, 3 ½…

Thus, a 1 ½ unit is equivalent to studio / T1 in France. The 3 ½ (the equivalent of a T2) usually includes a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom.

Translation: ½ is the bathroom (considered a half room). 4 ½ = 1 kitchen, 1 living room, 2 bedrooms and … ½ = bathroom. 1 ½ = studio with one bathroom.

A little advice from your agent

Consider asking if they are closed rooms. Sometimes a simple demarcation on the floor (a lino floor next to a floor) indicates that you have changed rooms or that you have two feet in two different rooms!


Square foot/square meter: Although the metric system is used in Quebec, the surface area of apartments is generally indicated in square feet. 1 square meter equals 10.76 square feet and 1 foot equals 30.48cm.

Empty, furnished or semi-furnished: The apartment can be empty. If it is marked “furnished”, it means that the unit is equipped with furniture and appliances. Semi-furnished” means that it includes basic appliances, such as a stove and refrigerator, and sometimes a washer and dryer (the “washer-dryer” duo).

Heated or unheated: Heating costs may be included in the rent or paid by the tenant. If you are responsible for paying for gas and electricity, simply call the customer service department of Hydro-Quebec and Energir (formerly Gaz Métro) to subscribe and get a monthly estimate of the cost.

Other fees and equipment: In Quebec, water consumption is not billed. The drinking water system is financed through the property taxes paid by the owners. Some rental buildings also include a parking space or a common laundry room. For the most luxurious of them, it is common that they include a swimming pool, exercise room (gym) or lounge at the entrance.

A little advice from your agent

The brightness of a home can sometimes make all the difference, especially in winter and when it gets dark around 4pm!


Your search for a rental or investment property may lead you to choose a condominium. What exactly is a condominium (or its diminutive “condo“)? What are the differences between a condominium and an apartment? On the surface – and architecturally – nothing really distinguishes them, except that…

A condo is a building in co-ownership. This unit of a building belongs to an owner who often lives there, while an apartment is a unit rented by the owner. The apartments of a building can all belong to a company or a business while the condos of the same building belong to different owners.

As for the management of the building, the condos are administered by a syndicate of co-ownership and through a company specialized in building management. The co-owners of a condo building share the responsibility of taking care of the common spaces and the maintenance costs. In contrast, the sole owner of an apartment is responsible for the condition of the unit.

The rent may be slightly higher for a condo because the owner is responsible for the building’s common areas, property taxes and condominium fees. Please note: some condominium corporations prohibit the rental of a condo for less than 12 months..

Are you thinking of investing in the purchase of a building or a condo? Good news: the trend in Montreal is to build luxury condos, right downtown and along the St. Lawrence River. These condos are particularly appreciated by those who aspire to an exceptional quality of life. In addition to the vast modern dwellings, they will be able to take advantage of all the comfort at their disposal: swimming pool, terrace, gym, lounge, relaxation area, concierge service… Beautiful opportunities are offered to investors in the most beautiful neighborhoods and the most beautiful views of Montreal.


Vous Are you arriving alone in Quebec? You like to feel surrounded? And you want to integrate quickly? A shared apartment may be the best option for you. Renting a room with common rooms such as the living room and the kitchen is a convivial solution not only to exchange recipes but also to create a network of relations or a circle of friends!

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Regardless of the property in question, the process of renting a property in Quebec follows these essential steps.


Certain documents may be requested, such as: identification, work permit, letter from the employer, proof of sufficient funds...

When it is impossible to come in person, a real estate agent can visit the property for you and even film it for you!

Our agents can inform you about the rights and obligations of both the tenant and the owner. Thus, the rights of the tenant are more restrictive than in France for example.

At the signing of the lease, a landlord may ask for a security deposit/guarantee at the signing of the lease. According to the Civil Code of Quebec, it is illegal to require a security deposit. However, the Rental Administration Tribunal (formerly the Régie du logement) has already recognized that a tenant can freely decide to pay a security deposit according to his or her will and not under any constraint. On the other hand, the landlord can request that the first month's rent be paid in advance.


You have been seduced by an apartment? The owner of an apartment will probably ask you to fill out a “rental offer” which includes a credit check. The credit inquiry is based on your credit history and/or includes the contact information of the owners of your previous rentals.

Are you new to Quebec and have no credit history or landlord references? Aware of this reality, some landlords may agree to rent to you. Others ask for some “proof” of your solvency. However, it is often the real estate broker himself who knows best how to reassure and convince the landlord by talking about you in a favorable way and in your favor!

When the landlord agrees to rent to you, you will have to sign a rental agreement (a “lease”) indicating your respective rights and responsibilities.

A lease contains, among other things, the following:

Nom Name of the tenant and landlord

Description of the rented accommodation and its contents

Duration of the lease (fixed or indefinite)

Rent: amount, date and method of payment

Services (work and repairs, etc.) and conditions (building regulations)

Signatures of the parties

Things to note

The presence of an animal (dog or cat) can be an obstacle to renting.



In general, the duration of the rental contract (lease) in Quebec is one year, beginning on July 1st and ending on June 30th, automatically renewable. It is possible that you will be offered a 2-year lease.

The lease, written in French, specifies the duration of the lease (fixed term or indefinite term); the amount of the rent and the method of payment (weekly or monthly); the services included (concierge, heating, etc.) and conditions (building rules);

Want to know more about the lease in Quebec? You can get information from the Tribunal administratif du logement (the Régie du logement) in Quebec, the tenants’ association in your neighbourhood (“Comité logement”) or simply consult us for informed and personalized answers.

The best time to look for housing in Montreal is from March to May. It is during this period that tenants inform their landlords if they want to leave the apartment. However, it is always possible – and always easier – to find a home with the services of a real estate broker!

Things to note

Consider reserving a moving truck well in advance since July 1, which is a statutory holiday (Canada Day), is moving day in Quebec.


If you do not have a credit history, you may be asked for a security deposit. It is important to know that any request for a deposit or several months’ rent in advance is legally prohibited in Canada. You are also not required to provide personal information such as your social insurance number (SIN) or bank account number. Payment of the first month’s rent upon signing the lease is permitted..


You wish to leave your apartment during the year? The lease can be terminated under certain conditions provided by law..

The termination of a lease is not equivalent to the non-renewal of the lease at the end of the rental period. The belief that simply giving advance notice to the landlord is sufficient to terminate a lease is incorrect.

It is legal to terminate your lease if:

  • The landlord neglects some of his or her obligations, such as providing adequate heat or making necessary renovations to the unit.
  • Because of domestic or sexual violence
  • Because of special needs or a particular situation, such as: leaving the dwelling for low-income housing (LIHTC), a private residence for seniors, or housing adapted to a disability.

Apart from these circumstances, it is possible to terminate the lease before the end of the term if the landlord agrees. It is also possible to sublet or assign the lease to another tenant who will take over the lease under the original conditions, with the landlord’s permission. The law states that the landlord must have serious reasons to refuse a new tenant.

To learn more about your rights and obligations, and about leases in Quebec: Signing a Lease – Administrative Rental Tribunal (gouv.qc.ca) (formerly Bail Régie du logement Québec).

Good to know

Home insurance is not mandatory, but it may be required by the owner. It is all the more recommended if the property is old and therefore more at risk of accidents or fires. In addition to guaranteeing your property and furniture, home insurance provides civil liability insurance, both inside and outside your home. How much does it cost? On average $30/month.

HP & Associés can help you take out home insurance



After signing the lease, handing over the keys! It’s time to move on to the next step. Small “to do list”:

  • Buy your furniture in Montreal or get your stuff delivered by container
  • Think about getting an adapter or a special plug if you bring with you your European appliances, of a different voltage.
  • Contact an interior designer if you wish
  • Note the numbers on the electricity meter when you arrive
  • Open an account with Hydro Quebec to connect to electricity, or with Energir if your boiler runs on natural gas
  • Take out a home insurance policy (your agent/broker can give you more information)

To remember: You can ask Hydro-Quebec (electricity) and Energir (gas) for the consumption of previous tenants to help you evaluate your budget.

Services - Average cost for a 2 bedroom apartment

Below is an example of monthly costs for subscriptions in this type of rental:

Hydro-Quebec : 90 – 130 $ /month

Internet: 70 – 100 $ /month

Cell phone: 65 – 100 $ /month

Cable: 30 – 80 $ /month

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  • A good professional advice is worth a thousand precautions, as renting a house can be simple or complex according to your knowledge
  • He will pay particular attention to finding the right accommodation according to your criteria, your needs or your desires.
  • He will accompany you in your steps and guide you with confidence at each stage of the decisions.


“Buying a property to rent out offers little rental return. It is better to buy a property to obtain a capital gain by reselling it with a five-year horizon.” Heidy Pinsonneault, Director of the HP & Associés agency.

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