'Rats!' Say rodents to Seattle's new building code | KUOW News and Information

'Rats!' Say rodents to Seattle's new building code

Dec 31, 2016

2017 may not be a good year for Seattle’s booming rat population.

The city’s new building code as of Jan. 1 requires developers to get rid of rats from any property they plan to tear down.

Seattle is among the rattiest cities in the country, due to our mild climate and also to the city's rapid growth. Developers are quickly snapping up old buildings — but they may sit on them for a while before tearing them down. Those vacant buildings often become a home to hundreds of furry, whiskered squatters.

At least until demolition day.

Why are there so many rats in Seattle?

Bryan Stevens, spokesman for the Department of Construction and Inspections, said the city's new rat elimination rules in the building code were developed in partnership with the King County health department, in response to a big increase in rat sightings.

He said developers must now show that a tear-down project is rat-free before demo begins.

"This is really meant to handle the rodent issue upstream and eliminate the issue of spreading the problem into the larger community," Stevens said.

The rule is modeled after similar ones in Shoreline and Kirkland.

So while 2017 may be a bad year for rats, business is looking good for Seattle’s exterminators.