At Prime Group’s 4,200-unit Park La Brea, social distancing is a big problem

Some of the complex’s 10K tenants say landlord should be doing more to keep them safe and informed

Los Angeles /
May.May 26, 2020 02:00 PM
John Atwater, CEO of Prime Group, and Park La Brea (Credit: Brown University, and Park La Brea)
John Atwater, CEO of Prime Group, and Park La Brea (Credit: Brown University, and Park La Brea)

UPDATED, May 27, 2020, 9:47 a.m.: Adhering to social distancing guidelines in the time of coronavirus has been a challenge in big cities, but for residents of one of the largest housing developments west of the Mississippi, it has been particularly difficult.

Now, some residents of Park La Brea, a complex of more than 4,200 units and 10,000 people, say their landlord, Prime Residential Apartments, hasn’t done enough to keep them safe and informed, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The challenges for the landlord are many, and include contending with the high-rise complex’s numerous elevators, hallways, communal laundromats and other common spaces.

Nineteen people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Park La Brea and the surrounding neighborhood, according to the report. There has been one confirmed case in the housing complex itself. Park La Brea management finally removed signs in some buildings that said it was unaware of any Covid-19 cases there, after the Times pointed that the signs were outdated. Residents have taken to posting notes themselves about coronavirus updates in the complex, according to the report.

Some residents said that neighbors helping each other is what has gotten them through the crisis.

“You can see that people are out and about, sitting on their back porches, calling out to each other,” said resident Sabrina Knight. “Everyone’s in the same boat.”

Management has created a program to offer a 10 percent discount on April and May rents, provided it gets repaid by August. Residents had complained that despite the county’s ban on evictions through June 30, Prime Residential was demanding tenants send bank statements and other financial information to avoid getting thrown out. The landlord denied that and said the financials were to prove they qualified for the reduced rent. Prime Residential has also lowered rents in some vacant units, leading existing tenants to break their leases and move into less expensive apartments. [LAT]Dennis Lynch

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated 19 Park La Brea residents had tested positive for the coronavirus. That number includes the housing complex and the surrounding area. One case of the virus has been identified at Park La Brea.


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