City unveils plan to regulate converted apartments

THE BRONX - The city has unveiled new guidelines and regulations in the fight against illegally converted apartments.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that under the new program, he will assign a special task force to inspect buildings and use four main criteria to determine the risk of complaints. High priority has been placed on buildings constructed before 1938, located in areas with a history of fires, in foreclosure and under a tax lien.

Bloomberg says these measures will help the city's effort to prevent disasters such as a fatal fire on Prospect Avenue that claimed the lives of 12-year-old Christian Garcia and his parents. The Department of Buildings later issued a violation to the building owner for illegally converting the apartment into multiple dwellings.

The mayor says the city has already inspected 16 buildings under the new protocol. Six of those have been given vacate orders and four received violations. The high-risk assessment model will also be used on a weekly basis to evaluate all complaints.

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