A Students Guide to Renting Part 4
Updated: Feb 10
This is our final installment on Renting in Montreal. For our new students you will be in student housing for the first four months. That does not mean that you do not hold the same responsibilities and rights as any other tenant however. Consider it a practice run for the real thing!
Breaking leases: Breaking a lease is not the same thing as deciding not to renew. You may only break your lease under special circumstances; if your landlord is not doing necessary repairs or, fails to heat your apartment properly if it is included in the lease for instance. If you are a victim of spousal violence or your children are in danger of the same. Or, if you have special needs and need to relocate as a result, moving to an old folks’ home or care center for instance.
You may also break your lease with your landlord’s consent as well as changing the lease’s end date or subletting to a new tenant. In all these cases you must discuss it with your landlord and add any alterations to your lease.
Insurance: Even if you rent instead of owning it is a good idea to get insurance. Even the best neighborhoods suffer from acts of god from time to time. A flooded basement apartment can leave you with thousands in damages. A fire can leave you with no possessions. Insurance can cover you in case of unforeseen emergencies.
Insurance can be a complicated business. It is best to speak to an insurance provider to see what options are best for you.
Pets: Having pets is a lot like having roommates. You are responsible for your animals and any damages they may cause. Likewise, you are responsible for cleaning up after them, removing animal waste and making sure they do not disturb your neighbors. The only difference is that ideally your roommates do all that for themselves.
There are no specific laws against having pets in Quebec, but individual leases may forbid pets or restrict what sort of pets you may have. The only exception to this is working animals who assist the disabled. It is important to note that if a specific type of pet is not mentioned you are probably allowed to have one. If your building only forbids dogs you can keep a cat for instance. You are not allowed to use a rented residence as a breeding center for pets without your landlord’s permission.
Discrimination: Quebec’s Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms forbids discrimination in the housing sector for any of the following reasons: Race and color, sex, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, civil status, age, religion, political beliefs, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition or disability.
If you feel you are being discriminated against for any of the above reasons you can speak with the Regie or make an official complaint with the CDPDJ. Please remember that these are serious accusations and you should only take these steps if you are certain that you are being discriminated against. You should always try to work things out civilly before involving the government.
So, this is the end of the series. We thank you for taking the time to read these articles and hope that they help prepare you for both your 4 free months of accommodations and your life afterwards. With the new semester starting so soon we look forward to seeing many of you in person for the first time and we wish you good fortune in your education in Quebec!