Home News Packing up and moving out for the summer

Packing up and moving out for the summer

by Archives April 7, 2009

Anne-Cecile Luthier is an undergraduate Concordia student trying to sublet her 3.5 on St-Mathieu St. for the summer. “I’m a little worried about it,” she said. “It’s an expensive neighbourhood.”
Like many other students, Luthier is leaving the country for the summer – in her case, to work in Paris. “I have a few people interested, but if I can’t sublet it, I’ll have to keep paying rent on it for the summer while I’m in France, which would be really expensive.”
She is far from alone, according to the CSU’s Off-Campus Housing and Job Bank (HOJO) coordinator Jonathan Elston. “We’ve had a lot of students coming in to try to find apartments, or looking for info on moving out,” he said. HOJO provides free legal information pertaining to housing and apartment rentals for otherwise confused students.
“A lot of students don’t know that in Quebec leases automatically renew,” Elston said. “So you need to give appropriate notice of non-renewal to your landlord, or else you’ll automatically be re-signed for another year.” Non-renewal notice deadlines vary depending on the length of the lease, but it’s usually between three and six months for a one-year lease.
If the non-renewal notice deadline has passed, a tenant essentially has two options: Finding someone to take over the lease (lease transfer) or renting the apartment to a person for the remainder of their lease (subletting). Other than that, there’s no easy way out of a lease.
“Breaking a lease is very difficult to do, unless there’s a serious problem with the apartment,” said Elston, who warned that creating a problem by introducing vermin into the dwelling is not a good option. “You don’t want to do that,” he said. “Cases often take a very long time to be heard, anywhere from one month to over two years.”
There are many reasons students get stuck with apartments they can’t use or don’t need, according to Elston. “One of the problems is that some students just don’t have the proper information,” he said. “Housing laws differ between countries and province to province, but even Quebec students tend to find our service very helpful.”
In addition to providing free one-on-one legal information, HOJO’s website provides resources such as information on basic tenants rights, moving checklists and average rental prices by neighbourhood.
Vanessa Tran, a McGill nursing student who is moving out of her fourth apartment, said all the moves have been a learning experience for her. “My first year I almost had my lease renewed without knowing about it,” she said. This year, Tran is subletting her apartment. “The thing to remember is that if you’re listing it on the Internet, be as specific as you can be, take a lot of pictures and watch out for scams,” she warned. “I’ve a had a lot of people from abroad trying to get my bank account number, saying they’d need it to pay rent.”
HOJO is open year-round Monday to Friday in the Hall building.

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