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Tenants' rally turns ugly on Webster Street


Tensions boiled over Friday at a protest held by tenants at their northeast London, Ont. apartment complex.

Many tenants at 1270 and 1280 Webster St. have been served eviction notices by Webster Apt. Inc, which recently purchased the properties.

A man who identified himself as a Webster Apts representative got into a physical and verbal altercation with tenants.

Peter Cuddy, the city councillor for the ward, got in between the parties involved in the dust-up. Cuddy told CTV News he’s disappointed by the actions of the property owner.

“A landlord has the privilege and the opportunity to make money. But by evicting tenants who have been here for 25, 30 years? Some are disabled. And many elderly. It’s a horror story quite frankly,” said Cuddy.

Moments after the physical altercation, police arrived in six cruisers and spoke with representatives from Webster Apts. No arrests were made at that time.

Screen grab of a confrontation between two people as protestors voice their concerns over the evictions of Webster Street Apartment tenants on May 12, 2023. (Bryan Bicknell)

London Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong was among the speakers at the demonstration. She congratulated the crowd of about 50 for staying strong.

“I want to commend you for your bravery to stand up to this landlord who is trying to force you out of your homes,” she said through a bullhorn. “You have a right to assemble in a peaceful gathering.”

Tenant Sharon Hodgson said she’s being evicted so the new landlord can renovate her apartment. She said the apartment was fully renovated when she moved in just six years ago.

“And when I moved in, the apartment had been completely renovated at that point,” she explained. “New flooring, all new appliances.”

Tenant Edward Chartrand said he’s being evicted for non-payment of rent. The only problem, he said, is that he has never missed a rent payment.

London police were called after a protest by tenants at 1270 and 1280 Webster St. turned physical on May 12, 2023. (Bryan Bicknell/CTV London)

“I got an N4 on May 8th,” said Chartrand. “And the N4, respectively, in regard to non-payment of rent. I’ve never not paid my rent. I’ve got all the paperwork here that indicates that I did pay my rent.”

At least three representatives from Webster Apts. Inc were on site during the protest, but they refused interview requests from CTV News.

The man who engaged in an altercation with tenants, including a number of elderly ladies, said, “Do you know who you’re dealing with?” when approached by CTV News, but he never did explain exactly who it was he was talking about.

Jordan Smith of Acorn, a tenant advocacy group, called the behaviour “sleazy,” pointing out the company’s choice of security.

“A company this large and of this magnitude is using such dirty, underhanded tactics to use a guy in a rusted old Crown Vic without a proper security licence. Literally you got a backwards baseball cap and a dirty jersey on, and he’s literally just trying to intimidate the tenants, bullying us, telling us that they were going to call the police on us.” Top Stories

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