- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Montreal Guide (PDF)
When investigating the areas and suburbs in Montreal, expats should consider factors such as location, safety and proximity to schools and places of work. Fortunately, the public transport system is extensive and efficient, so expats should be able to commute easily from anywhere in the city.
Most expats choose to rent property in Canada rather than purchase, but those planning on staying in Montreal long-term might opt to buy instead.
Types of accommodation in Montreal
There is a range of accommodation options available at different price points in Montreal. Expats will generally find apartments and condos in modern complexes in the city centre, but the cost of housing in central areas is high and space is limited. For this reason, many locals live outside the city centre, where they have access to spacious properties at more affordable rates.
Home security in most properties is also reliable, with most houses offering burglar alarms and secure door locks. Most rented houses are partially furnished and will have air conditioning and central heating installed.
Utilities are not usually included in the monthly rent and heating and air-conditioning costs can add up quickly, so expats should budget accordingly.
Finding accommodation in Montreal
Finding accommodation in Montreal is relatively painless. The only overwhelming aspect is deciding on one of the city's many neighbourhoods. Expats can enlist the services of a real-estate agent to help with the process. Online property listings are also a great way to start the house hunt.
An interesting quirk of renting a property in Montreal is that moving day is traditionally the first of July. It's not unusual to see hundreds of moving trucks around the city on this day.
While most people stick to this tradition as it ties in with the end of the school year, smaller apartments are typically available to rent all year. Expats should keep in mind that the best time to look for a place to live in Montreal is usually around March when many landlords start advertising.
Renting accommodation in Montreal
When deciding on a house to rent in Montreal, there are a few factors house hunters should consider. Expats should compare the cost of the property with its size and location. We also recommend that they complete a full inspection of the building and confirm the details of the last renovation, as well as the average heating costs during the winter months with the landlord.
Most leases in Montreal are valid for one year. Expats who sign a lease must provide their banking information and prepare themselves to undergo a credit check.
Additionally, expats living in the city centre should try to negotiate for a parking space, as parking is limited.
Deposits in Montreal are one month's rent. If the property is left in an acceptable condition upon the tenant's departure, the deposit should be returned.
Utilities are not usually included in the rental prices of houses in Montreal, but when renting an apartment, some utilities will likely be included in the monthly rent. If possible, expats should negotiate for their heating costs to be included in their rent.
Buying property in Montreal
There are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Canada. The housing market is expansive and expats should easily be able to find a property to purchase. Prospective buyers should note that property taxes in Canada are high, though.
The process of buying a property in Montreal is fairly straightforward. Nevertheless, expats are advised to use an Appraisal Institute of Canada accredited real-estate agency to guide them through the process, especially in Quebec, where French is the official language and laws are slightly different.
An estate agent will assist expats with liaising with the seller and accompany them to the house inspection.
If the buyer is happy with the condition of the house, the real-estate agent will recommend an estate lawyer to oversee the purchase of the property. Real-estate agents and lawyers usually speak both French and English, which can help make the process of buying a property in Montreal seamless.
►For more general information on renting and buying property, see Accommodation in Canada
►Education and Schools in Montreal is essential reading for expats with children
"Vancouver and Toronto are the most expensive cities for housing, followed by Montreal and Ottawa. There are many options available—we have enough land!—but it depends on your budget and way of life."
Read more about French expat Juliette's experiences in Canada in our interview.
Are you an expat living in Montreal?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Montreal. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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