If you’re new to the Niagara region like me, thinking about where you’re going to live when you come to Brock can be daunting. There are so many questions! Where will I live once I’m out of residence? What if I don’t want to live in residence first year?? How do I find student housing??? How do I find roommates????
Luckily the Brock Off Campus Living (OCL) website has some answers. There are 2398 spots in residence at Brock, and the high majority of these spots go to first year students as they are guarenteed a room in residence if applying straight out of high school. So, generally speaking after first year most students decide to rent a property off campus. The OCL site is designed as a resource tool for both Brock students and landlords to help students find safe, affordable, and comfortable housing. The site has hundreds of property listings from landlords of student houses, apartments and single rooms, equipped with photos, rent prices, and all the amenities the property offers. It also has listings from students who either have a property and are looking for additional roommates, or do not have accomedations and are looking to move in with other Brock students.
As a university student, chances are you don’t have much experience renting a property, which is another area where the OCL website is helpful. Top 10 Tips for Student Renters is a great starting point for first time renters to help you become aquainted with your rights and responsibilites as a tenant. The OCL website also provides more detailed legal resources to help you in case you run into a serious problem. The last thing you want is to be taken advantage of! Brock’s OCL website will help you become rent-wise.
On a lighter note, choosing your first student house can be A LOT of fun. As much as it is hard work (finding a place, visiting it, signing a lease, moving, etc.) having your own place for the first time is undeniably exciting. In fact, some students get so excited that they can’t wait to start looking! It’s a common tale that students (especially first years) get anxious about finding a place “before all the good ones are taken”. I know some first years who started looking for a place as a early as October the preceeding year! I advise that you don’t do this for a couple of reasons…
First, the group of friends that you have in October of first year will most likely change or expand by the time you move in to your new place for second year. If you sign a lease too early you are committing yourself to live with a group of a people whom you may or may not still be friends with by the end of the year. Second, the idea that “all the good ones will be taken” is false. According to the OCL website, you should look for housing February/March/April for a lease starting in May of that year, or June/July/August for a September lease of that year. At these times there will be plenty of housing available, as properties continue to be posted all throughout the school year.
As far as neighbourhoods go, you will find that most students (unless they own a car) live close to a Brock bus route. Popular areas include Glenridge Ave., the Pen Centre, Thorold (Confederation Heights), West St. Catharines and Central St. Catharines (downtown – location of the main bus terminal). If you visit the St. Catharines Transit website you will find all of the bus routes that go to and from these areas to Brock, as well as a map of the areas these routes travel through. I recommend becoming aquainted with these areas and choosing your housing accordingly, especially if you don’t have a car!
One more thing I want to add is that the off-campus housing in the St. Catharines/Thorold area is really nice!! The value of the housing is, for the most part, pretty amazing. I hope this relieves some of the stress you may feel about moving away from home and renting your own place! And make sure to use Brock’s OCL website if you have any questions or conerns (or to check out some properties just for fun!)