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Are you going batty over bats?

Posted on 22 November 2018 by Julia Wilson-Sharpe

With Halloween behind us, we can forget about all those blood sucking bats and vampires for another year. Or can we?
Did you know? There are no less than 18 species of bat living in the UK. I am not certain how they came to have starred in so many vampire movies as killers and blood suckers and why we have come to demonise them. The fact is they are harmless little creatures who have no interest in us at all.
We usually find them in dark damp places such as caves and bell towers. As we develop more and more of our countryside, new colonies will need to find a home. In the absence of a cave or bell tower, they may well choose a dark loft space. Often this is more of a problem for country properties, but not always.
Bats are a protected species and so are their roosts. The Acts protecting bats and their habits are: the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; the National Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006; and the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. They have more rights than we do. So it is not a case of clearing them out of the loft or blocking them from entering their roost.
Many people would not mind having bats in the loft, but for some it may be a big issue, particularly if the loft is being considered for an additional bedroom or usable storage area. It could be the deciding factor when choosing to purchase a property.
For a seller, the best course is to inform the Agent of the Bats and ask that they inform the solicitor of the situation.
For a buyer, ask the question – 'are there bats in the loft?' Also ask the surveyor to check it out before an offer is made. Many people would ask what can be done about bats – the answer is nothing much, they are legally protected. We could of course try to deter them from entering a property by replacing broken air vents and fascias. Perhaps consider covering a disused chimney with wire mesh. We either like them and are happy to live with them or we find another property. The upside to bats is that they eat insects, so are good at keeping down pests.
If bats are discovered in a property where work is required, you must get expert advice before proceeding.
For more information on bats you can contact the National Bat Helpline on 0345 1300 228 or go on line at http://www.bats.org.uk

Posted in: Buying & Selling Your Home