PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — More than a dozen tenants allegedly locked out of their North Philadelphia homes last month by a landlord are allowed back inside today. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says landlords illegally evict tenants far too often.
Many tenants are glad he and his office stepped in.READ MORE: Teenager Killed In Trenton Shooting Identified As Shemiah Davis, Mercer County Prosecutor's Office Says
Tyler Shaide now feels a big sense of relief walking into his home again inside the Moscow & Monica apartment building not far from 2nd and Girard Streets in North Philadelphia after being locked out for part of last month.
“That weight is lifted, when you have the weight it’s almost like you can breathe again,” Shaide said.
He says he and other tenants had made oral leases with the building’s property manager that the building’s owner was not aware of.
When the owner, Gagandeep Lakhmna, found out, he allegedly locked out those tenants even after a judge ordered the tenants be allowed back in their home.
“We will step in,” Shapiro said.READ MORE: Apartment Fire In Norwood Leaves Several People Injured
Shapiro said at a news conference Thursday the building’s owner has to follow through on the oral leases that were made.
“Frank Sanders, the former property manager of this apartment complex, made legal, verbal, legitimate leases with approximately 20 renters,” Shapiro said.
After his office intervened, renters are now allowed back inside the apartment building until at least the judge makes a decision on the matter later this month.
Meantime, Shapiro now has a message for landlords.
“In my office, we’ll be here to step in so you are treated fairly when you’re targeted by illegal predatory practices like what happened here,” he said.
“Any landlord who tried to illegally evict is going to be held accountable against the law,” Philadelphia City Councilmember Helen Gym said.MORE NEWS: South Jersey Family Helping Those Affected By Ida In Louisiana
The property owner’s attorney did not return a call seeking comment.