One day left

This Friday is the last day to notify your landlord if you are leaving July 1st. That really doesn’t give you much time. If you haven’t done so, you are probably best giving it to them in person or sending it ExpressPost.

My search for an apartment is over. Na, na, na! I’ve been living in my current apartment for seven years and 16 years total in Le Plateau. The thought of moving puts the fear of God into me. So I stayed put. That, and my current apartment, while rather small was awesome. Without getting too personal, at 35yrs old, it’s time to ditch the wild and crazy bachelor life. (HAHAHAHA!) and and move in with my girlfriend.

My girlfriend has a very particular problem in that she’s often not in town due to work. Not only that, but we can never be quite sure when she will be back in town and for how long. Therefore, it was important that we start our search very early.

My fears of searching for an apartment were not unfounded. It’s a complete zoo.. especially in Le Plateau. Of all the places we searched, of all the places we called, on average there were 15-20 others also looking and many of them very interested in signing.

So where to look? We used 4 main websites.

Les Pac

Those are the 4 main sites that I know of and that we searched. Lespac has a great user interface, relatively easy to search with the most info, often including photos. It does not however have the most amount of listings. That would go to Voir. However, with voir, there are no photos and the user interface is rather 1980’s. It’s essentially a copy of the classified ads but on a static webpage.

As you can see with voir, there is the option of paying some 10 bucks a week or 30 dollars a month to have advance view of the ads before they come out on Thursday. We took this option. It does give you an advantage over those who do not purchase the service. Yet, don’t expect it to be the panacea to your apartment hunting woes. The ads come out every weekday around 16h00.

What’s most important is that you know where you want to live.. what neighborhood and know your budget. Then go from there. Do not hesitate when you see something interesting. Call right away. Get your name on the list as soon as possible. The key is being first. It’s a slightly ugly situation, but it exists nevertheless.

Some landlords have told me that some potential tenants put huge pressure on the landlord to sign that “let me see it now, and we’ll sign right now”. This sometimes works, but on the other hand some landlords are reluctant to sign to someone that pushy. I suggest showing interest but not putting huge pressure. Be polite.

Credit searches. They are very popular, especially with buildings owned by a business. It’s up to you if you want this search to be taken and of how much personal information you want to give out. I’m anal. I refuse credit searches to people who do not have a privacy policy. If they don’t have a written policy regarding my personal information, they don’t get it. Which of course, means losing the apartment. So you need to have this figured out in your head before hand.

I will gladly give the number to my current landlord, my employer.. etc. IMHO, that’s all they need to know. But, again, I lost a few apartments because of this.

There is lots of magouille going on. I’ve heard stories of landlords who create a sort of auction. What they do, is invite the 20 or so people who want in and then start a sort of bidding war.. I’d walk away from that. Never would I agree to sign a lease with someone that crooked.

Some landlords use agents. These agents show the house for the owner. They accumulate credit searches and names and then the landlord chooses one out of all those who agreed to have their credit searched. Some agents will ask you to sign a “promise of rental” (roughly translated). It essentially states that if a lease if offered to you, you must sign it or pay the agent for their lost commissions. No idea if this is legal. No idea if this is enforceable, but it exists and they may ask you to sign it. I refused not because of this contact but because of the credit search.

In all honesty, they best way to find an apartment is word of mouth. Ask everyone you know if they know of an apartment in your location, at your size and in your budget.

In the end, we found a great apartment in Le Plateau, in our budget with two of the nicest guys as landlords as you could ever want to meet. So it all worked out. But for two weeks, we were both stressed out and lost sleep over this search. I am very glad it’s over.

So if you are looking for that July 1st moving date, go at it with full force and don’t accept anything you are not comfortable with with.

Good Luck

5 Comments so far

  1. tornwordo (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 6:24 am

    Congrats. We have one to rent for July, and I haven’t even advertised it yet, thanks for the heads up on the zoo I’m in for.

  2. Rob (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 8:41 am

    Congrats man. I had a hellish (but also brilliant, and fun-filled)apartment search last year, so i can definitely sympathise. Gotta move again (I’m a student graduating next year), am actually kind of looking forward to apartment-hunting (gawwwwd mile end is soooo beautiful!)but damn, it’s hard finding a place with a september lease.

  3. Ketan (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 3:03 pm

    I would like to recommend adding another site, to your list. It is also a good site to look at.

  4. Zeke (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 3:47 pm


    But what was the method you used to find the “great apartment in Le Plateau, in our budget with two of the nicest guys as landlords as you could ever want to meet”?

    Did you find it on Voir? one of the other sites, word of mouth from friends or something else?

    And congrats!

  5. Justin (unregistered) on March 29th, 2007 @ 4:22 pm

    Oops, sorry. We found the ad in Les Pac. We called, said we were very interested. Luckily the nice landlord was away skiing in BC and wouldn’t be back until my girlfriend was back from her business trip. He agreed to show it to us first, even though he had 15 others, plus two who wanted to sign right there and then.. We were the first to call and he held his word. We saw it, liked it, and signed the lease a few days later after he checked our references. A coupla guys true to their word..

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