While the number of Department of Buildings inspectors increased since 2012, the number of vacate orders the city issued for illegal conversions decreased by almost half.
The city issues the orders on homes that are subdivided into smaller apartments without approval. The conversions are often dangerous and poses safety hazards.
In 2012, inspectors issued 1,032 vacate orders to owners of units that had been illegally converted, DNAinfo reported. That number dropped to 1,012 in 2013, then to 911 in 2014, according to DOB, the website reported. Last year, 630 vacate orders were issued, although the DOB says that number could rise as complaints are processed.
The DOB has a separate unit to investigate illegal conversions. A DOB spokesperson told DNAinfo the reason for the lower number of vacate orders was because of veteran inspectors retiring and the decision to take a new approach.
However, according to the DOB, the number of inspectors increased from 364 in 2012 to 412 in 2015. A DOB spokesperson said many of the new inspectors are still being trained, and that the department hopes to hire 100 more this year. Mayor Bill de Blasio allocated $120 million to the DOB.