Landlords are turning offices into unauthorised flats to survive the economic downturn. A South China Morning Post investigation showed more than 90 per cent of units in an Aberdeen building zoned as 'commercial only' had been converted to flats with shower, toilet and basin. Property experts said there had been a recent trend for landlords to alter properties in less attractive areas to get tenants and avoid financial loss. A government spokesman said the move was illegal. The 31-storey glass-walled Wayland House in Shek Pai Wan Road showed no sign of housing flats, but women were entering with vegetables and shopping bags yesterday. The block has units of about 350 sq ft and was built by Cheung Kong (Holdings). The units were snapped up when they went on the market in December 1996. The building's directory shows two flats as rented for commercial use: one for piano lessons and one for tutorials. Property agencies advertise the building as 'tailor-made for newlywed couples' and 'sought after by smart singles'. One agent showed the Post a contract which said 'commercial use' only. 'They are no different to residential flats, only you can't use gas for cooking or showering. But many electrical appliances nowadays can replace gas, and it is much safer,' she said. The flat she showed was a studio with a basin installed for washing and cooking and a bathroom with a simple shower. One tenant, Mrs Wong said she knew the flat was for commercial use only. 'All my neighbours rent the units for residential use. Though the flat is small, it feels great to have a sea view apartment,' she said. Mrs Wong signed a one-year lease two months ago and is paying $4,800 a month for the flat overlooking Aberdeen Typhoon Shelter. A spokesman for the Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau warned people to think twice if flats were offered at low prices. 'We will not put up with unauthorised alterations. We don't want to take radical moves such as entering the premises, but if we have to, we will,' he said. Cheung Kong could not be reached for comment. In April, the Lands Department issued a warning to Cheung Kong after shops were found in Kwun Tong's Modern Warehouse - an industrial or office building.