Property owners who want to raze buildings in Baltimore County will have to prove they are rodent-free under legislation approved Monday by the County Council.
The bill came in response to community complaints about rats scattering into neighborhoods after building demolitions.
"We are facing a rat epidemic in many of our neighborhoods," said Councilman Todd Crandell, a Dundalk Republican who sponsored the bill.
Under the measure, people seeking a county demolition permit must get a certified pest-control technician to verify that the property is free of rodents. Crandell said under current law, a person only needs to state that the property is rodent-free — and the county takes their word for it.
The council approved the measure 6-1, with Republican Councilman Wade Kach of Cockeysville voting against it. Kach said he understood concerns about rats, but he worried the new regulation would place an unnecessary burden on citizens.
"I think you'd be more sympathetic if you had the epidemic that we have in eastern Baltimore County," Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, a Middle River Democrat, told Kach.
Kach unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill twice — first to restrict the legislation to urban areas and then to restrict it to industrial and commercial buildings. No other council members supported the amendments.
If signed by the county executive, the new requirement will take effect March 20.