Renting an Apartment in Montreal

By: Staff | In: Montreal | Posted

Renting is popular in Montreal - in fact, about 54% of Montreal residents rent, rather than own, their apartments – a proportion higher than in almost all other North American cities except New York.

Montrealers are lucky to have a variety of rental housing options: from high-rise rental towers to mid-rise structures to Montreal's classic "duplex" and "triplex" buildings to simple detached houses. Many 1960s and 1970s high-rises were built with an eye to maximizing the return on investment rather than comfort or aesthetics; apartments in such buildings typically have low (8') ceilings and the buildings themselves often sport a rather uninviting exterior. On the other hand, older apartments and those in low-to-mid-rise buildings often have higher ceilings (8'6" to 10'), which makes them more comfortable, more spacious, and less dependent on air conditioning in the summer. Modern buildings targeting the upper segment of the rental market also tend to give you at least 8'6" of vertical space to live in, in addition to central air-conditioning.

Montrealers have a peculiar way of referring to apartment layouts. Generally, one has to think about the number of rooms in the apartment, including the kitchen (if it's an eat-in kitchen), but counting the bathroom as only ½ of a room. The result is roughly as follows: 1½=studio, 2½=studio w/ eat-in kitchen ("bachelor"); 3½=1-bedroom, 4½=2-bedroom, etc.

Management companies

Most "nothing special" rental buildings in Montreal, marketed to students and recent immigrants, are managed, and sometimes owned, by management companies. The following is a list of the largest ones:

Borough-specific comments

Ville Marie   ↓ Plateau Mont-Royal   ↓ Westmount   ↓ CDN/NDG   ↓ Other  

Renting in Ville Marie

The borough of Ville Marie is the most densely-populated district of the city. A significant percentage of multi-apartment rental buildings are located here.

Renting in Plateau Mont Royal

Though most of the Plateau is low-rise, larger multi-apartment buildings do exist - most are clustered toward the southern and western edges of the borough, bordering Ville Marie.

Renting in Westmount

Located just west of the Ville Marie borough, the municipality of Westmount has many smaller (4-5 storey) multi-apartment buildings, particularly along St-Catherine and Sherbrooke Ouest streets.

Renting in Borough Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce

The area of Côte-des-Neiges, located just west of Mont Royal near the campus of the Université de Montréal, is another area with many multi-apartment rental properties. It is one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the city. The apartments are rarely anything to write home about, but the rents tend to be below the city average.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, the other "half" of the borough to the south of Côtes-des-Neiges, is more suburban in character, except in the area around Villa Maria (Monkland Village).