Philadelphia Landlord Accused Of Locking Tenants Out Against Court Orders

Alecia Reid reports.

Video Transcript

UKEE WASHINGTON: Locked out of their homes. A Philadelphia landlord is accused of going against the judge's orders in the middle of a pandemic. Hello, everyone. I'm Ukee Washington. Thanks for joining us. The landlord tenant dispute is unfolding in Philadelphia's old Kensington neighborhood, and that's where at Alecia Reid joins us now with more on the serious accusations. Alecia?

ALECIA REID: Good evening, Ukee. The owner of these Germantown Avenue apartments is being accused of locking tenants out in the middle of a global health crisis, against court orders. Now, today's petition is not only to get tenants back inside their homes immediately, but also to fine the landlord a hefty sum for every day the court order is violated.

The Moscow and Monica Apartments boast a contemporary look, spacious apartments, and modern amenities. But the horror tenants say they're facing at the hands of their landlord has forced them to file a complaint with Common Pleas Court. Court documents claim landlord, Gagandeep Lakhmna, has once again locked tenants out, despite an order from Judge Joshua Roberts two weeks ago, stating they're allowed to stay.

The Pennsylvania attorney general's office jointly filed a petition with community legal services for contempt of court, calling this not only cruel, but a clear violation of the Landlord Tenant Act. Keyless entry was meant to make access easy for families, but counseled door codes have led tenants to find creative ways of getting inside. Although they've paid their rent, some are now staying with family. Others have opted to stay inside for fear of being locked out.

In a statement, the Pennsylvania attorney general's office says no landlord should get away with illegally shutting off renters' utilities and locking people out of their homes. The plaintiffs and state attorney general's office are requesting Lakhmna be fined $10,000 for each day he's in contempt of court.

Now, court proceedings are still in session at this hour. Judge Roberts decided to hold criminal contempt hearings at a later date. Now, we did reach out to the defendant's attorney for comment. So far, we haven't heard back. Reporting live from old Kensington, Alecia Reid, CBS 3 Eyewitness News.

UKEE WASHINGTON: OK, Alecia. Thank you for that.