Bats are amazing animals that are important to ecosystems in the UK and worldwide. We have 18 species of bat in the UK, all of which are protected under UK and European law. As natural roosting sites have become scarce, the number of artificial roost sites has increased in the form of houses, bridges, barns etc. Bat populations in the UK have declined dramatically over the past century due to persecution and habitat loss, but as a responsible roost owner you can help secure the future of these fascinating creatures.
A bat roost should not prevent the sale of a property, if you are selling a property with a bat roost, you can reassure the new owners that having a roost should not present any problems and in the rare occasions that issues may arise, help and support is available.
If you're a prospective buyer yourself and you're unsure about what having a bat roost means please read through the below advice and browse the website for further information.
How can I reassure a prospective buyer about bats?
Many homeowners and tenants share their property with bats without being alerted to their presence. Bats are not rodents, and do not nibble or gnaw wood or wires, and will not generally cause any structural damage. They use existing spaces to roost, and will not bring in bedding material or food. They are also clean and sociable animals which spend many hours grooming themselves. All bats in the UK are also insectivores, so their droppings are made up of dried insect remains. This means bat droppings are unlikely to cause damage and can easily be swept up when the bats are not present. Bats are often seasonal visitors, using a property as a roost at certain times of the year. In combination, there is generally nothing to worry about if you have a bat roost.
How does bat protection impact the possibility of carrying out works on the property?
In the UK, bats and their roosts are protected by law such that it is illegal to damage, destroy or disturb any bats or roosts. A roost is defined as any place that a wild bat uses for shelter or protection, and the roost is protected whether bats are present in it or not. This can sometimes be a cause for concern when a roost owner needs to carry out works such as repair works, pest control etc.
However you can be reassured that the laws protecting bats should not prevent you from carrying out works all together, you just need to take the bats into consideration first by seeking advice from your Statutory Nature Conservation Organisation (SNCO). By correctly seeking advice from you will ensure that the necessary precautions are taken on how to do works lawfully. You can find our advice on how to take bats into consideration when carrying out works here.
This advice provided by the National Bat Helpline is only possible thanks to the generosity of people like you. Our vital advice service helps thousands of people by providing advice for free, this in turn saves thousands of bats every year. Partial funding from Natural England helps cover some of our running costs, but it does not cover everything. Your donation will help ensure our small team can continue to provide assistance and a lifeline for bats.