Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: LaCité Apartments in Montreal

I'm at the end of a 14-month lease at LaCité Apartments in Montreal, and wanted to jot down some notes my on my experience here - hopefully this can help a random Googler decide if they want to sign a lease here. 

Here's my pros and cons, anonymous internet friends! 

Pros
  • Awesome location. Close to McGill and the downtown core. It's a 20 minute walk to the Centre Bell, 10 minutes to St Laurent Blvd, and 10 minutes to Place Des Arts Metro station. 
  • Clean, well-kept, high quality units. I posted some pictures of my apartment here and here. As tenants move, I think they're replacing old ugly carpets with faux-hardwood like my unit - looks better, in my opinion. 
  • Amazing in-building services. The four LaCite buildings share an underground shopping complex with a grocery store, pharmacy, post office, barber, bank, liquor store, gym, cinema, and restaurants. 
  • Concrete walls & floors ensure decent sound insulation. You can't hear voices or footsteps, but you can hear your neighbours if they're pounding their bass, or dropping bags of glass marbles on their tile floors. 
  • The process to sign a lease is pretty straightforward, and the woman who helped me was very nice. 
  • Overall the building's administration was really great and helpful. Because the LaCite complex is so big (1,200+ units) they have to play by the rules - they're less sketchy than some smaller landlords might be. 
  • Underground parking is available (but I don't have a car, so I can't vouch for if it's good or not). 
Cons
  • Rent is more expensive than other buildings in the area, but you're paying for the convenience of the location, the underground services and the administrative overhead. 
  • The building administration slips a "Happy Birthday" note into your door frame on your birthday. Presumably they have this information from copying some form of photo ID during the lease-signing process. While this is a well intentioned gesture, I found it creepy because I didn't authorize them to use my personal information in that way. 
  • LaCite staff tell you they will never enter your apartment without your explicit permission. This is not true. Due to the size of the complex, they equate "slipping a notice under your door" with "receiving your explicit permission". Yearly smoke detector inspection notices are slipped into door frames that say (paraphrased) "someone will enter your unit some time next week, just FYI". The most stunning to me was when a LaCite agent let an interested future renter into my apartment without my permission while I was in Saskatoon for Christmas. Their justification was the two notices that they slipped under my door.... while I was out of town, unable to read them. When they saw the unopened notices, they didn't phone me to get my permission to enter - they showed my apartment to the stranger anyway. This is unacceptable to me - I don't think anyone would be comfortable with the idea of a stranger checking out their home without their knowledge. 
Would I rent here again? Yes, overall it's been a wonderful place to live. But I would have a second lock installed on my door (an option available to tenants) and not provide the administration office with a copy of the key. I'd be happy to leave it unlocked for smoke detector inspections, but I would absolutely leave it locked during long absences. 

32 comments:

  1. we took an apartment for three months june, july and august. they immediately started renovations two floors above. they start at 6:30 am and jack hammer for hours on end. management says that's the way we do it here at la cite.

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  2. Did you end up renewing your lease? I'm really looking into it for next June when my lease ends (currently paying $850 for a studio near Parc la Fontaine on Sherbrooke East). Plus I'm a McGill student and I can see how amazing the location is.. I'd love to chat more about this!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Danielle,

      I didn't renew my lease because I moved back to Saskatoon.

      Despite my pet peeves, I probably would have renewed my lease if I would have lived in Montreal for longer.

      Oh, another pet peeve to keep in mind. If you get a North-facing apartment, be wary of the ones close to street level. The cabbies that park on Prince Arthur LOVE to honk their horns at each other all through the night. Maybe that's normal for downtown apts though; I'm just a prairie guy who is used to quiet cities!

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  3. Hi Brahm,

    what was the size of the apartment? 3 1/2? And how much did you pay for it?

    I read that heating + hot water + electricity + A/C are included. Is it possible to control the A/C and heating in the apartment?

    On their website they say you've access to the swimming pool and the gym. Do you have to pay for the swimming pool? And the gym?

    Thanks
    Boris

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    Replies
    1. Hi Boris,

      It was a one bedroom, with living room and kitchen and bath. So I think that's 3 1/2.

      Yes, heat + water + electricity + A/C was all included. There was a thermostat in the living room for heat in the winter (it actually worked) and a wall-mounted A/C unit for summer.

      By access to the pool and gym they mean physical access - it's connected through the basements of the 4 apt towers. You have to pay a membership fee (I never got around to visiting them, not really a gym guy).

      Hope this helps,
      -Brahm

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    2. Oh, forgot this: I paid about $1,200/mo. Can't recall the exact amount.

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  4. Hey Brahm,

    I'm a cold climate kinda guy so I was wondering how the A/C works? Also do they charge you for mounting an extra lock or getting an extra key? And is there a lot of construction in the building?

    Thanks
    Michael

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michael, the A/C in my unit needed an appointment with a serviceman during my first spring, but that service was provided by LaCite and after that I was nice and icy-cool! I had a North-West facing apartment though, so there wasn't too much direct sunlight heating it up.

      I imagine if you just called someone and had an extra lock put in they would be none the wiser, though if they needed to get in (fire detector inspection) you might catch some flak.

      I was given a second key for free (if memory serves correctly) but I was charged a few bucks for a second security dongle to get in and out of the building. It MIGHT have been a deposit but I can't recall.

      They were refurbishing the elevators while I was there, so one of three elevators was down for 6 of my 14 months. Annoying! And there was some construction a few floors up... but I had a "normal" weekly schedule and it wasn't too bad. I have no idea if it's still ongoing.

      Hope this helps you!

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    2. Excellent! My girlfriend and I are moving in next week and your review really helped alot in making us decide. Wish there were more righteous dudes like you!

      Thanks and all the best!
      Michael

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  5. Hi Brahm :-)

    I would like to know if some units have a washer and dryer ?

    I look forward to hearing from you,
    Lysa

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lysa,

      In my building, there was a large laundry room on the second floor.

      I'm not sure if some units had individual laundry. I know there were lots of different apartment layouts (some big, some small), so they may have.

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  6. Hi Brahm, is the Internet connection fast enough to play online games?

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    1. Yeah, you can either get Bell internet or a Bell subsidiary that's not as evil (I forgot their name; I went with them).

      It was good, I played a lot of Xbox Live and didn't have any lag issues.

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    2. Thank you for answer.
      And do you know the price of an unfurnished studio?

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    3. No, but you should check their website. The prices used to be online.

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    4. About the connection again, I'm in a furnished studio of LaCité Apartments, and the Internet is included. But it doesn't satisfy me. Do you think I can bring my own connection? Like Bell as you said.

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  7. Hi there
    Brahm clearly you were just lucky.
    Am happy you had a good experience but..
    I would advise people to check the google reviews 6 out of 7 are very very negative.
    The place was a nightmare and am leaving.
    the management is arrogant, useless and breaks regie law at will.
    Also many many units have bed bugs..as they renovate the bugs travel through the cracks in walls.

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  8. my son is thinking about renting--but these reviews are awful.

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  9. So, is the internet fast enough for poker players?

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  10. I rented there for a year and they entered our apartment 3 times without notice (verbal or written). It's against the law. I am currently suing them for moral damage as one of the time, my wife was changing her clothes half naked.

    Of course, they denied it and said a notice was sent.

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  11. I really wouldn't recommend them. I just rented a new apartment from them, after specifying to the agent that I really wanted a quiet place. My new place turns out to be right above where a bunch of taxi drivers gather to shout at each other, from 8am to midnight every single day, there's construction next to me that starts at 7am. I haven't had a day of peace here since I arrived. I've asked the administration to move me, and they've been really unhelpful, saying that I should have known it would be noisy, and "helpfully" offering to move me if I'm willing to pay 150$-200$/month more, putting my rent to 1200$/m. What a scam! Rent a totally unsuitable apartment, then ask for more money to solve a problem they created in the first place!

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  12. I DEFINITELY DON'T RECOMMEND THEM, AT ALL.... Today, it's going to be two months that I rent an apartment here, and I'm already disappointed. Why? Because of this f****** noise! I don't know what they are doing, maybe some renovation, but it is all day long!!!!! And I'm tired of this. Really. In addition to that, all your negative reviews don't even surprise me. I really plan to cancel my rent, I think next month.... Do you have some other nice places that you'd advise me? Without noise and staff entering your apartment without your permission?

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  13. Been here a long time, they enter appartments, do endless noisy renovations (today it is changing the steel balconies, five hours of really loud noise), they spread vicious rumors about tenants - that they are pimps, drug dealers, and carrying lots of cash. .. When they lose at the Rental Board, they make threats. There is no security, the police are here all the time. For a female student forget about it. Sure the Mall is convenient in winter, the prices are so high compared to outside stores. Most of the students turn into boozers and there is a lot of drugs and prostitution. There are advantages to living here, but watch out.

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    Replies
    1. How do you know they enter apartments?

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    2. And why the hell they enter apartments? To do what?

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    3. *I* know they enter apartments because they told me they entered mine while I was gone. Read the third "con" on my list.

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  14. First they knock on the door..if you don't answer they figure you are not home and just enter. Happened to me twice.
    Why? Who knows.They can't even speak English. There are too many maintenance/workers etc always hanging around out of control.They don't like the English speakers that's for sure.

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  15. I live in the building and cant wait to end of lease time to leave. It smells horribly, garlic curry onion. I dont know how but my smell comes in to the appartment and unbearable. Management did nothing even though I complained more than a dozen times. Never rent here

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  16. Sorry for asking, but what floor and building are you having the smell problem? I'm on 26th floor of Tower A (3600 du Parc) and that is the reason I'm moving out. It's almost like the used air from below comes up and get stuck without a proper ventilation system and that bad smell pours inside my apartment by any joint/crack/plug on the wall. If you not a smoker or don't like waking up with garlic/onion smell, you better check that first before moving here.

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    Replies
    1. yes 3600. I guess the reason for heavy smell even after midnight is because of two chinese restaurants in the basement floor and faulty ventilation system distributes the smell inside the building.

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  17. lovely blog thanks for sharing your experience, It will be helpful for me because I am also looking for Furnished Apartments Montreal.

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