CHICAGO — Chicago’s inspector general has found the city’s building department had a backlog of more than 5,000 complaints dating back to 2013, including nearly 200 describing such “serious health and safety hazards” as rat and bed bug infestations and senior citizens’ homes without water.

The inspector general’s office reports an audit found the building department didn’t have an effective strategy for prioritizing complaints. And during the first five months of last year met its response deadline for fewer than 37 percent of the complaints.

The release says the building department has agreed with many of the audit recommendations, has proposed corrective actions and is trying to determine if it has enough inspectors and support staff to handle the complaints.

Spokeswoman Jennifer Martinez says building department officials have prioritized emergencies, decreased response times and updated record keeping.

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