February 2010: Moving out of Residence
Every August, parents of first-year students go through the madness of Orientation and Residence Move-in. Often, they do so with some anxiety at the thought their sons and daughters are embarking on this journey “on their own”, away from the nest and with a lot of new challenges to face. Residence Move-in in itself brings its load of stress: will it be a good fit for my kid, will the room be big enough, floor mates welcoming, roommates friendly and respectful, and did we pack enough – or too much – anyway? The first few weeks in residence inevitably raise a number of questions and perhaps phone calls home – “I don’t like it here!!”. But, eventually, a month in, things quiet down and you start to hear about fun evenings spent with new friends and the great neighbourhood where your students can find all they need within walking distance. You’ve both made it, and things will be alright after all!
Then, February rolls around and that uncomfortable feeling in your stomach is back… Students have to move out of Residence after their first year, don’t they? Shouldn’t mine be getting serious about apartment hunting, then? Where does one start? And how can I help from a distance?
Firstly, rest assured, there is still plenty of time to plan at this point. There is no need to start looking for a place before late February or even March as a lot of places go up for rent only on July 1st. Here is where students should begin to make this step as smooth as possible (as seen in the Life In Rez Handbook 2009-2010):
- Students should attend one of the Apartment Hunting Info Sessions put on by Off-Campus Housing. They take place in January & February each year (notification is sent via email and is posted throughout each Residence);
- They should also read the tips for finding an apartment on the Off Campus Housing website. Be sure to particularly check out A Student’s Guide to Renting an Apartment, a 14-minutes video chock-full of useful information, as well as the FAQ section. Another section that’s very helpful is the one on subleasing and lease assignment; it will greatly help those not familiar with the Montreal renting market understand the subtleties of the listings.
Off Campus Housing also has a special page for parents explaining how they assist students with their housing search.
While it is not necessary to start looking for an apartment right away, it is a good idea to start looking at listings to see what is out there and learn to tell a good deal from an offer that’s too good to be true. Visiting a few apartments can also help get a better understanding of how sales pitches translate into reality. If your student hasn’t narrowed down the neighbourhood of choice, or the desired living arrangements – will there be four students sharing living quarters, or will this be a good opportunity to finally get some privacy? – then now’s definitely the time to start asking some of these questions.
A few good places to start looking for listings:
- The McGill Off Campus Housing listings – The listings posted here are only accessible to current and newly admitted McGill students and they are easy to browse through by neighbourhood, date of availability, size and price. Some landlords only post their listings on this website, so do a number of students who wish to sublet or share their apartment;
- The McGill Classified ads – Postings exclusively from the McGill community made available to the public;
- Craigslist – Classified ads abound here, especially in the apts/housing section. The filter tool allows users to narrow down their search. A lot of postings with pictures can be found here;
- A slew of other useful housing links can be found on the Off Campus Housing web pages
Moving back into Rez
While there is not enough room for everyone to move back into Residence after their first year, students do have the option of applying to return. Some residences such as Solin, the MORE Houses and the Greenbriar offer greater independence than traditional residences while still providing the community support and thrill of Rez living. Information on when and how to apply to return is posted in all Residence buildings.