Posted by Frank Chin on January 16, 2004 at 07:41:55:
Yes, it happens here in NYC.
For multi’s, 3 families and over, I’m subject to an anuual Fire Department inspection. Once a year, they pull up in a fire truck, go down a street, ring doorbells, and check for violations.
The Fire Department check involves looking for stuff place in public areas, such as bicycles parked in lobbies, plants on fire escapes, junk placed in furnace rooms etc.
Then, there’s the building department code inspectors. As there are many illegal conversions in the boro, that’s the high priority enforecement area right now.
Happened to be chatting with a plumbing inspector working in this area while he’s conducting a “gas test” which takes 30 minutes. He explained he worked building code enforecement at one point, and I asked him for his typical day.
He tells me they go check a violation on a 2 family rented as a 3 or 4 family, based on complaints, or a unresloved situation on file. While he’s there, he checks mailboxes up an down the street, and for mail laying around, and if he suspects something, rings the doorbells, and come inside to look.
Just to add that I was told by my expeditor, and plumber that this “young inspector” is nothing but trouble. But my plumber, who’s a straight shooter, said he knows this guy well, and he simply does everything by the book. I’m told others drop by to sign off on a gas test after 3 or 4 minutes, then goes to have a cup of coffee, whereas this guy hangs around a dank basement for 30 minutes watching the test.
So I suspect that your new inspector is doing things by the book till he gets more experienced. LOL.
I got a good laugh reading about the City Council meeting regarding this issue, i.e., why is enforcement not solving the problem. You may be surprised to hear that enforcement is stumped because 90% of the time, doorbells are rung, no none is home as people are away at work.
Maybe the best way is not to answer the door at all. Put that in the lease!! (just kidding) There was a police investigation in my neighborhood once where they were going down the street ringing doorbells to inquire about a local burglary. They saw me go in the house, and later rang and rang the bell saying “this is the police!! open up!!”. I just turned the volume up on my TV set, ignored them, and they finally went away.
I got nothing to tell them as I was at work when whatever it was happened.