Seattle has implemented a new regulation to reduce the number of rats occupying vacant buildings. The port city ranks first in the U.S. in the number of rats living within its borders. The new rat eradication regulation goes into effect in 2017. It requires developers to prove they have consulted with a pest-control professional before any vacant building is demolished. If the inspection discovers a rat infestation, the rodents must be eradicated before the building can be torn down.
Existing regulations make controlling a rat problem the responsibility of the building owner. When a developer buys a vacant building, the rat problem can become significant while the owner prepares to redevelop the property.
Making matters worse, Seattle is in the midst of a construction boom. Many vacant properties are facing demolition, and rats tend to move from formerly vacant properties into neighboring homes or buildings.