Home hunters, beware of redeveloped factory buildings. The Consumer Council says it is illegal to turn industrial units into residential flats unless the developer has secured government approval for the conversion. The council issued the warning after noticing the proliferation of promotional materials for apartments situated in former factory buildings. The ads talk of the conveniences of loft living, including cheap rents, versatile layout and penthouse units that are 'fully furnished with stylish bathroom facilities'. 'These [leaflets] don't say 'residential' but use wordings that may mislead people into thinking they can live there,' said Connie Lau Yin-hing, the council's chief executive. Lau says converting industrial or commercial buildings for residential use requires the approval of the Town Planning Board. Solo, an industrial building in Tai Kok Tsui to be completed next year, is being promoted as offering 'modern loft living'. But buyers cannot live there because the developer never applied for a change to residential use. 'It is also not advisable to live in these units because of the risk of fire,' said Kennie Kwok Chor-wah, director of industrial and office department at Centaline property agency. More than 10 industrial blocks in Tai Kok Tsui have been turned into low-rent flats in recent years, according to Yau Tsim Mong district councillor Henry Chan Man-yu. 'These buildings with no lifts are hardly attractive for industrial use so the owners are tempted to rent them out for domestic use,' he said. Some of these flats, measuring 800 sq ft, are divided into six rooms with each rented out for about HK$1,000 per month, says Chan.