News 12 rides along with DOB for illegal conversion crackdown

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BROOKLYN -

News 12 rode along with the Department of Buildings to see how the city is tackling illegal home conversions.

Paula Vasan joined Building Inspector Chris Vasquez as he tracked complaints of illegal conversions. Day in and day out, Vasquez drives around the city making sure homes are being used for what city documents say they are intended for.

For example, he says, a space can't have a bedroom if it is intended to be solely storage and boiler.

It all boils down to safety. City officials say they see more and more illegal conversions, and that they can be fire hazards putting people at risk.

Back in 2016, a landlord was indicted for manslaughter in connection to an East Flatbush fire. Prosecutors said he illegally added too many rooms.

"Most of the time it's irresponsibility, not doing your homework," says Vasquez.

Vasquez says red flags to be aware of are basement apartments and places with small windows. He also say to make sure every room has two ways of exiting in case of fire.

Anyone unsure if there home is safe should contact the DOB by calling 311.

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