Wilson Bill to Clean Up Pest Problems at Certain Demolition Sites Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Gilbert “Whip” Wilson (D-Camden, Gloucester) to prevent pest infestations from migrating to buildings adjacent to demolition sites was released recently by the Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee.

“Pest infestation is a problem in abandoned properties and buildings,” Wilson said. “Clearing up any pest problems prior to ridding the property helps protect adjacent homes and business from becoming infested.”

The bill (A-3170) requires pest inspections prior to certain building demolitions. Specifically, the bill requires either a health officer or another local health agency employee, certified by the State Department of Health, or a commercial pesticide applicator, certified by the State Department of Environmental Protection for general and household pest control, to inspect certain buildings for mice, rats, roaches, and other pests before the demolition, and issue a certification indicating that pests are not present in or on the perimeter of the building at levels that place any nearby building at risk for infestation. If a severe pest presence does exist in the building, then the pesticide applicator or local health agency will be required to ensure that extermination takes place in the building prior to issuing the certification.

“It is unfair for adjacent property owners to take on the burden of pests just because of their proximity to a demolition site,” Wilson added. “A routine pest inspection prior to tearing down a building will help to prevent what could just be an isolated pest problem from spreading.”

The bill also stipulates that certifications will not be required prior to the demolition of closely-situated buildings, meaning buildings that are both located within 19 feet of the building to be demolished, and on a different property. Also, under the bill, certifications will not be required for partial demolitions, except in accordance with rules and regulations adopted by the Commissioner of Environmental Protection.

The inspection would occur within two months of the construction permit issuance for demolition, and the certification will be filed with the construction official before the issuance of the permit. Any certification that is issued by a pesticide applicator will be filed with the health officer, in addition to the construction official, no later than five days before the construction permit issuance. The bill states the construction permit applicant will be responsible for the cost of any pest inspection and extermination.