Where to find a summer sublet in sunny Montreal?
March 20, 2014 4:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of visiting Montreal for a couple months this summer as a "test run" of sorts before possibly relocating there permanently next year. How realistic is the prospect of finding a sublet in Montreal for June-July, and where would one look for such a thing online?

My budget is limited, so I haven't really looked at hotels and corporate short-term rentals. Cheap and cheerful is fine. Dates are flexible — plane tickets aren't even booked yet.

What I've found so far: VRBO (cited in a previous AskMe) has quite a few places, but even the cheaper ones seem to be a bit over my budget. My best option so far appears to be AirBNB, as there are a few places in the CAD 1200~1500 / month range, which I could just about manage.

Is there anywhere else I should be looking, though? My original plan was to sublet a studio off a student going home for the summer, but I wonder how realistic that is and whether going down that route would actually be measurably cheaper — not to mention I have no clue where to look.

Are summer sublets a thing in Montreal? If yes, where are they advertised? Should I dig into the Montreal Craigslist? Is there a secret local classifieds site that I should take a look at? What would be considered a decent rental price for a studio in a reasonably central, not-too-shady part of town? Any areas I should particularly look at / avoid? Any flaw in the plan that I haven't considered?

Advice, suggestions and reality checks all more than welcome. Thanks in advance, Hive Mind!

[Long shot filter] On a side note, if any Montreal-based mefites are interested in visiting Madrid this summer and would consider a home exchange, please memail me.
posted by doctorpiorno to Travel & Transportation around Montreal, QC (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There are so many sublets from McGill & Concordia students leaving for the summer, but generally starting in May rather than June, and going to September. It's definitely a buyer's market for these type of sublets and you should find something less than $1000/mo., probably closer to $800. Most people put up ads on message boards around campus, but there's sure to be a lot advertised online as well. For apartments in general I think Kijiji is more popular in Canada than Craigslist.
Also flats are advertised by number of rooms; e.g. a one bedroom apartment is usually a '3 1/2' - bedroom, kitchen, living room and the bathroom is the 1/2; a two bedroom apt is a '4 1/2', etc.
posted by Flashman at 4:32 PM on March 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

Summer sublets are absolutely a thing, though just June-July might be more difficult to find. Most people leave at the end of May and return at the end of August.

It depends on where you'll be looking, but 1000/month is reasonable for a studio sublet in central areas like the Plateau, downtown, Mile End. Look near the universities: McGill and Concordia are right downtown, UQAM is a bit east, and Universite de Montreal is a bit north, but in a lovely part of town.

Do you have any acquaintances in Montreal? Most of my friends have found subletters by advertising on Facebook. If you're interested, send me a message and I can post on my Facebook wall to see if anyone I know is offering.
posted by third word on a random page at 4:34 PM on March 20, 2014

Ah, a few more things:

- How's your French? It's 100% possible to have an awesome time in Montreal without speaking much French, but if that's the case, you'll want to look for places in the western part of downtown/Plateau/Mile End. Traditionally, Saint-Laurent street has been the east-west language divider; while that's no longer quite true, it's still a good guideline if you're looking for services in English.

- Public transit in Montreal is excellent, especially in the summertime when you can use Bixi bikes. I'd stay close to the centre of the metro map. I lived at the outer limits of the metro system for a few years, and while it's still great, it's not quite the tourist experience I'd recommend.

- Montreal is a pretty safe city. There are no areas I'd really stay away from, but it can look a bit different from other North American and European cities: there's a lot more visible homelessness, and strip clubs are everywhere. That doesn't make it an unsafe city, but I know it makes it appear that way to some visitors.
posted by third word on a random page at 4:39 PM on March 20, 2014

I did this last summer. I'm frugal when it comes to housing costs and didn't find it difficult to locate places I considered affordable. Probably easier to do in Montreal than any other large city in Canada. There seem to be more small rentals there. I went with AirBnB for my first month, because I didn't know how to safely exchange money with someone from Craigslist place unseen. That was rooming with a guy and his cat in a 4 1/2. For July and August I sublet a bachelor off Craigslist. Actually liked the rooming situation better. It was a place on the Plateau with a curvy outdoor staircase off the laneway, so a lot more character. That cost me something like $514, with 10% of that going to AirBnB. Second place was a highrise near McGill. It wasn't really furnished adequately (person who was subletting wasn't returning and left me only a badly designed Ikea futon and a desk but no chair), and I ended up feeling a little lonely in those couple months. It was $600 a month, and a short walk down the hill to the central area for their big summer festivals. A lot of the student sublets seem to be places that might be shared with 2 or 3 roommates, so their suitability will depend on your age and ability to get along with others. Could find those situations for under $500 a month. Try padmapper as your filter for browsing Craigslist. I'd think if you're willing to spend $1000 a month you can sublet quite comfortable living in Montreal. But take your time to look around because there are rentals with character there. Better to find that than just another apartment.
posted by TimTypeZed at 5:27 PM on March 20, 2014

Some apartment hunting links. Padmapper seems to work OK.

Be aware that a lot of people who move in Montreal do so on July 1. It's Moving Day. So leases tend to start and end at that point, although student apartments can be exceptions. (It's not a law, it's just a tradition.) So the McGill housing classifieds on my list may be your best bet.
posted by zadcat at 6:36 PM on March 20, 2014

Montreal Craigslist and Kijiji were the best during my housing searches last year (...and also the year before that). I found a good sublet on Craigslist in 2012; I suspect that would still be possible. Depending on where you want to be located, you should be able to find a one-bedroom 3 1/2 for less than $1000/month. Last year I was looking around this time, and I saw a lot of summer sublets. They are out there!

You might want to keep an eye out for the "McGill Ghetto." There are a lot of student apartments there, so I guess you would have a good chance of finding a summer sublet. In addition to being near McGill, it's between downtown and the Plateau, and would probably be a good home base for exploring the city.
posted by snorkmaiden at 5:43 AM on March 21, 2014

Check your memail, doctorpiorno.
posted by tangerine at 12:21 PM on March 25, 2014

« Older What to know before moving to China?   |   Help me locate the bathroom organizer of my dreams... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.