(09/16/10) THE BRONX - The Department of Buildings and the FDNY are warning that illegal housing has become a significant problem in the borough.

A foreclosed apartment building in West Farms went up in flames yesterday, endangering the illegal tenants inside. Members of the FDNY said firefighters see illegally divided homes all the time, but there is nothing they or the Department of Buildings can do since it is illegal to do spot inspections on private dwellings.

The DOB says a landlord can be fined up to $25,000 if illegal subdivisions are found. It also says that too often, the violations are only found after life-threatening emergencies such as yesterday?s fire.