City to Step Up Inspections on Illegally Divided Buildings

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


City officials are trying a new approach to building inspections following recent deadly fires in illegally subdivided buildings — including a deadly Bronx blaze that killed a 12-year-old boy and his parents in April.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on Tuesday the city will target fire hazards in illegally converted buildings by looking more closely at previous complaints, foreclosure records and tax liens, the age of the buildings and whether other fires have occurred nearby.

These metrics will help city agencies identify on a weekly basis a list of illegal conversions at high risk for a fire, and the locations would be inspected within 48 hours by a team made up of Buildings Department inspectors as well as Fire Department personnel.

By following this model, the mayor said the city has been more successful than usual at gaining access to buildings, and in a pilot program last week, the city’s inspection teams gained access to all 16 apartments identified as high risk, and subsequently issued six vacate orders.

"What we wanted to see was whether having FDNY presence in uniform at the door would consistently make a difference in persuading occupants to let inspectors in," Bloomberg said. "At least in this test, apparently it did. And it's now going to be standard operating procedure for the task force going forward."

The announcement Tuesday came ahead of a City Council hearing to examine illegal residential conversions and access for building inspections.


More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [1]


Complaints for illegal occupancy should not be closed after two attempts; it should only be closed upon satisfactory inspection.
FDNY and HPD should do their job by preparing and enforcing vacate rather than relaying on DOB only.

Only teamwork will bring safety!!!

Jun. 08 2011 02:14 PM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by