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RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Tony Chua, Hong Kong
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Buildings Dept steps up flat inspections

Flat owners and residents are advised to co-operate with the department to protect their own interests and public safety.

The Buildings Department has used a new law to break into premises believed to be housing sub-divided flats.

Department officers on Monday used their legal powers under section 22 of the Buildings Ordinance to inspect flats in a To Kwa Wan building. Its approved plans state the building should have two domestic units on each storey from the first to seventh floors. However, officers found 51 sub-divided flats in 12 of the building's 14 units.

Assistant Director of Buildings Hui Siu-wai said officers had previously tried to inspect the sub-divided flats and left messages requesting access. No response had been received by the end of July from the owners or occupants of several sub-divided flats. Officers used the new law to break into two premises with Police, to check for unauthorised building works and other safety breaches, according to a Buildings Department report.

“The whole operation proceeded smoothly. Department staff successfully gained access to all sub-divided units, including by way of breaking in, for inspection," Mr Hui said, urging all owners and residents to co-operate with the department to protect their own interests and public safety.

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