Mold, vermin, raw sewage: Tenants rally at South LA apartment complex, decry living conditions

Leo Stallworth Image
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Tenants rally at South LA apartment complex, decry living conditions
Tenants held a rally to call attention to what they described as the dilapidated and unhealthy living conditions at Chesapeake apartments in South Los Angeles.

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Mold, vermin and raw sewage are just some of complaints from tenants who live in the Chesapeake apartments in South Los Angeles.

On Monday, residents held a rally at the apartment complex to call attention to what they described as dilapidated and unhealthy living conditions.

"I've been dealing with the mold, the sewer everything in my house here," said one tenant, who invited Eyewitness News into her apartment to view the conditions.

The tenant, who declined to be publicly identified, said she's been battling multiple health issues, adding that toxic mold and other problems have caused her health to deteriorate from bad to worse.

"I was 52 years old when they diagnosed me with asthma," she said. "I've been going through so much in here. I've been crying emotionally to the office and they just laugh at me."

Other tenants are also frustrated.

"So I am frustrated because Pama sent out people who where incompetent to do the work at my apartment," another tenant said, referring to the apartment complex's management company. "They did an illegal construction in my apartment and we were exposed to open walls and a sewage smell."

Tenants are outraged by what they say are inadequate efforts by Pama Properties to address hundreds of housing department and public health violations at the Chesapeake apartments.

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell's program is expected to provide up to $5,000 per household for renters in his district who make 80% or less of the area median income, or AMI.

Tenants are demanding that the city of Los Angeles place the apartment complex into the Rent Escrow Account Program, or REAP, a program that forces improvements at rental properties that have a laundry list of unresolved code violations.

Tenants at Chesapeake apartments have been complaining for years about broken pipes spewing raw sewage into the building, vermin, toxic black mold and more. Those taking part in the rally said some tenants have had to be hospitalized developing health issues due to the deplorable conditions.

One tenant said they've complained to the office and suffers from lupus and Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, a life-threatening blood disorder. They said they almost died three times.

Eyewitness News reached out to Chesapeake apartment complex owner Mike Nijjar's business office in El Monte and got no response. Nijjar is the president of PAMA V Properties and its affiliates.

The Los Angeles Housing Authority held hearings on Monday to address the issues regarding the apartment complex but did not make a decision on how to correct the problems at the property.