NYC law targets construction sites as part of new rat abatement program

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New York Construction Report staff writer

New York City Council passed the Rat Action Plan recently, aimed at tackling the rodent infestation that continues to plague the city, applying to buildings that have been designated in rat mitigation zones for at least seven months..

New laws go into effect in April 2023, impacting residential and commercial construction projects with contractors required to pay for exterminator service for the following work, according to the New York City Council.

A licensed exterminator would be required to treat the premises for rodent extermination as per the requirements of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the following work:

  • Where the proposed construction work involves 50% or more of the floor area of a building.
  • Where the proposed vertical or horizontal enlargement increases the amount of building floor area by more than 25% over the amount of existing floor area of the building.
  • Where the proposed demolition involves more than 50% of the floor area of a building.
  • Where full demolition work is proposed.

Councilmember Erik Bottcher sponsored the ‘rat action plan’ at the Oct. 27 council meeting, pointing to construction sites as contributors to the city’s rodent problem.

“We’ve got to do something to address the rat problem in New York City and construction sites have been contributing to that ,” Bottcher said. “What we’re saying with this bill is that if you build a building, you’ve got to hire an exterminator cause you’re digging up the ground, you’re unearthing stuff that’s there, you’re creating places for rats to find shelter,” he said.

“So, before you get your building permits, you’re going to have to hire an exterminator.

New York City ranked second, only behind Chicago, in cities with the most rat infestation treatments, according to a recent report from pest control company Orkin.

“I really feel good about this package of rat legislation. I think it’s going to put us forward on this issue.”

The city will also require the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to designate rat mitigation zones by April 1, 2023, and to set times buildings must set out their garbage for collection.

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