Suoraan sisältöön

Health Protection

Viikinkaari 2a
00790 Helsinki
P.O. Box 58235, 00099 City of Helsinki
+358 9 310 2611
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Urban Environment Division, Customer Services

Sörnäistenkatu 1
00580 Helsinki
P.O. Box 58231, 00099 City of Helsinki
+358 9 310 22111
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Rat sightings

Rats are a part of urban nature and residents often only see rats when the animals find something exceptional to eat, such as bird food that has been left on the ground, apples that have fallen from trees or waste in a poorly managed waste collection point.

Rats may also move about more when the area they are living in becomes a construction and explosion site, for example. Rats are pests that can damage structures, contaminate foodstuffs and spread infectious diseases.

Extermination of rats is the responsibility of the building owner

Extermination of rats and other pests is the responsibility of the building owner, so any rat sightings should be reported directly to the plot’s owner or building manager. Any rat sightings in the park and street areas in Helsinki can be reported directly to the Urban Environment Division’s customer service. From there, the feedback is forwarded to the parties in charge of managing public areas. Residents can also report rat sightings to the Environmental Health Unit (, which gives advice to people who are responsible for exterminating rats.

A health hazard or not?

When necessary, the Environmental Health Unit can assess whether a detached house, terraced house or apartment building area has so many rats that they may pose a health hazard. In such situations, a representative from the Environmental Health Unit will, for example, visit the reported location and inspect it in order to assess the health hazard. If necessary, a bulletin detailing the increase in rat sightings can be distributed to the properties in the area.

Isolated rat sightings are not usually considered a health hazard that would require remedial measures. If there are so many rats that they may pose a health hazard, a municipal health protection authority may order the building owner to exterminate the rats in their area. The Environmental Health Unit will not carry out the extermination or give advice on how to perform it.

How to prevent a rat infestation

The Environmental Health Unit recommends that building owners make sure that pests do not have food or shelter. For example, the feeding of birds should be arranged so that rats cannot access any of the food. Birds should not be fed directly from the ground, but a bird feeder should be used instead, and any grain that has fallen on the ground should be cleaned up regularly. When there is no snow on the ground, birds do not need to be fed; they can find food in nature.

Special attention should be paid to the waste management practices of the building. The facilities should be arranged so that animals are not able to access the waste containers. Waste containers should always be closed and undamaged.

Rat control can be carried out using various types of traps or pesticides, where necessary. Control measures should preferably be carried out in the areas of several properties at a time, as rats may roam large areas.

Rat traps are sold to consumers in shops. The products should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. When placing traps, make sure that they do not pose a risk to children, pets or other wildlife. Traps should be checked daily.

Due to recently implemented EU legislation, pesticides for rats can only be procured and used by pest control professionals. In the event of a widespread rat problem, please contact a pest control professional.

02.04.2020 12:23