North Philadelphia Tenants Return To Apartments After Being Locked Out By Building Owner, AG Says

Matt Petrillo reports.

Video Transcript

UKEE WASHINGTON: An update now to a story we brought you yesterday. More than a dozen tenants allegedly locked out of their North Philadelphia homes last month by a landlord are allowed back inside. Eyewitness News reporter, Matt Petrillo is in North Philadelphia. He's following the story for us. Matt.

MATT PETRILLO: Ukee, so many renters told us today they are thankful the state attorney general's office stepped in after they believed they were illegally evicted. Tyler Shay now feels a big sense of relief, walking into his home again inside the Moscow and Monaco Apartment Building not far from 42nd Street in Girard Avenue in North Philadelphia after being locked out for part of last month.

TYLER SHAY: The weight is lifted, and when he have that weight, it's almost like you can breathe again.

MATT PETRILLO: He says he and other tenants had made oral leases with the building's property manager the building's owner was not aware of. When the owner found out, he allegedly locked out those tenants, even after a judge ordered that tenants be allowed back in their homes.

JOSH SHAPIRO: We will step in--

MATT PETRILLO: State Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference Thursday, the building's owner has to follow through on the oral leases that were made.

JOSH SHAPIRO: Frank Sanders, the former property manager of this apartment complex, made legal, verbal, legitimate leases with approximately 20 renters.

MATT PETRILLO: 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.

JOSH SHAPIRO: And my office will be here to step in so you are treated fairly when you're targeted by illegal predatory practices like what happened here.

MATT PETRILLO: And the property owner's attorney did not respond to calls seeking comment. Live in North Philadelphia, Matt Petrillo, CBS 3, Eyewitness News.

UKEE WASHINGTON: Matt, thank you for that.