Everyone knows selling a house doesn’t come without complications. But selling a house with bats is a whole different ball game, one which most people haven’t experienced or even thought about.
Bats can actually live in your house completely unnoticed, until of course you come to sell your house and a bat survey discovers bats in the roof.
So how hard is selling a house with bats in the roof in the UK and what complications do bats bring?
We’re going to answer your burning questions, whilst also myth-busting common myths on bats and help point you in the right direction if you require ‘bat removal’.
If you’re after something specific, this menu will help guide you to where you need to be:
- Selling a house with bats in the roof UK
- How to get rid of bats UK
- Can bats damage your house?
- Will having bats cause your house to drop in value?
- Where are bats most likely?
Selling a house with bats in the roof UK
Selling a house with bats in the roof in the UK will likely be something you’ve not done before and don’t know how to approach it. You’re probably worrying about finding a buyer as, understandably, most people don’t like the idea of having bats in the roof of their house, with bats carry a lot of negative stigma. You may have heard all bats will give you rabies or a vampire bat will suck your blood, but these are not completely true.
If you’ve come across a bat colony in your roof just as you were wanting to sell your house, then try not to panic. We’re here to help and answer all your ‘selling a house with bats’ questions!
Can you sell a house with bats in the attic?
Yes! There are absolutely no rules against selling a house with bats, but you will need to declare it to the buyer.
It is likely to be more difficult to find a buyer when selling a house with bats because, as we mentioned earlier, bats carry negative stigma. However, if you only have one bat or a small colony, which don’t cause any disruption, make noise or carry bad smells, then it shouldn’t be as hard to find a buyer, as it will be like the bats aren’t even there!
Now may be a good time to do some ‘bat myth busting’ which you can tell potential buyers, if you’re selling a house with bats…
- Bats suck human blood – WRONG! Vampire bats only suck on the blood of cattle, such as deer or cows. These bats are actually very small, weighing about 2 ounces, and so barely suck much blood anyway.
- Bats will give you rabies – WRONG! Bats can’t give you rabies from simply living in your roof and will only give rabies through biting you. Bats will only bite you if you were to handle one. Having said this, not all bats have rabies either. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 5 to 6 percent of bats captured for testing had rabies, suggesting the likelihood of bats in your roof having rabies are slim.
- Bats are the enemy – WRONG! Bats feed on insects and so having them nearby will likely mean you won’t have any insects in your house – yes, no nasty spiders!
Do you have to declare bats when selling a house?
When selling a house with bats, you must declare it to your buyers. We would guess it’s not the sort of surprise a potential buyer will be pleased with.
If you’re aware of the bats in roof and don’t declare it, it will likely be found at a later time on a survey (which we’re going to go into in more detail next). Not declaring bats in roof could lead to your buyer deciding you’re an untrustworthy seller and pulling out of the sale.
Do Home Inspectors check for bats?
If building work is going to be carried out, then a bat survey must take place. If bats are found, then the bat survey will decide whether planning permission can be granted and the building work can go ahead, depending on whether or not it will disturb the bats.
An initial bat survey costs around £400 and if evidence of bats has been found, for example droppings, then a more intense bat survey may need to take place, costing up to £900.
*Little tip – the presence of cobwebs in your house is generally a good sign you don’t have bats in the roof! *
If you need to have a bat survey, it may have to be carried out at a specific time of year. Bats hibernate between November and March so an activity survey would need to take place after this when the bats are more active.
A bat survey should be mainly carried out during daylight hours so that any roosts or droppings can be spotted more easily.
If you’re wanting to know more about bat surveys, this will answer your questions.
How to get rid of bats UK
Bat removal in the UK is a difficult procedure and not one that anyone should just attempt to do by themselves. You will need to enlist the help of a specialist before trying to disturb any bats and it may be a case of the bats aren’t able to be removed…
Can I remove bats from my loft UK?
There’s no simple yes or no answer to this question and each outcome will be different.
An expert will know whether or not the bats can be removed and when to remove them. If the bats are to be removed, this will likely be whilst they’re not present and also before they have settled for mating season.
If bats are discovered, any action which would affect the bats, or their roosts has to be carried out in a way with as little disturbance to the bats as possible and Natural England will need to be informed.
It is an offence for anyone to:
- Purposefully capture, injure or kill a bat
- Intentionally ‘disturb’ bats – disturb meaning affecting their ability to breed, survive or nurture their young
- Damage or destroy a place of shelter/roost of the bat, even if they’re not present
- Obstruct a bats access to a roost/shelter
Any of the above can result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months and/or an unlimited fine.
If you’re unsure of what to do, you can get in contact with the National Bat Helpline.
Are bats a protected species in the UK?
Yes, all species of bat are protected in the UK. Included in this protection are their breeding sites and place of rest. We have 18 species of bat in the UK, 17 of which are breeding here.
It’s important to not take part in any activities which could harms bats, including:
- Renovating, converting or completely demolishing a building
- Cutting down or removing branches from an old tree
- Repairing/replacing a roof
- Moving brickwork
- Changing loft insulation
- Putting a light outside a bats’ roost
- Removing a bats potential habitat, such as rows of hedges or woodland areas
- Using insecticides or treating timber
How long will a bat stay in one place?
If you have bats in your roof, it’s likely to be seasonal and so you won’t have to live with them full time. Once they leave, they also may not come back.
If the bats are there because they’re pregnant they will likely move on after the baby has been born and can find food itself. This could take anywhere between 11 to 15 weeks.
A ‘bat expert’ will be able to tell what stage the bats are at and may be able to shed some light on how long they’ll be there and what they can do to remove them, after the bats have left the roost.
If bat movements and hibernation is something that interests you, have a read of this.
Can bats damage your house?
Bats in your roof don’t normally damage your house and it’s often found households with bats aren’t aware of them. They don’t make much noise or smell, and their droppings generally crumble into dust, if only a small colony is found.
They don’t use bedding so won’t attack your insulation and although they prey on insects, they won’t normally bring this food back to your house.
Bats can’t chew so they’re not able to chew through walls, wood, wires or similar objects like you would experience in you had mice or other rodents.
Having said this, if the bats in your roof are there for a long time and/or there are a large colony of bats, the bat droppings can become an issue.
Bat guano (a fancy word for droppings) contains high levels of uric acid which can erode metal and clay structures. The uric acid can also affect the binding agents for stone and concrete and damage the protective oxidated layer on copper and bronze.
Bat urine can also cause staining and the build up of bat droppings and urine can lead to a foul smell, which can be carried around the whole house.
Will having bats cause your house to drop in value?
As we mentioned earlier, if the bat colony is small, they most likely won’t make noise or smell and the number of droppings will be small therefore they shouldn’t cause too much damage to the price tag.
If you’re selling a house with bats and the bats have caused damage to the property or are making large amounts of noise or smell, then there will more than likely be a drop in value.
If you’re selling a house with bats and you’re experiencing any of the damage issues from bat guano or urine which we mentioned in the last section, this will definitely have an effect on your house value.
Not everyone will want to live with bats in the roof so finding a buyer when selling a house with bats may be a little tricky.
If you’re unaware of the bats in the roof until you have a buyer and they’re discovered on a survey, a buyer may reduce their offer. A buyer may even pull out completely as the idea of sharing a house with bats isn’t at the top of everyone’s bucket list!
If you’re looking at buying a house with bats in the roof, you could use the bats as a ‘negotiation tool’ and put in a cheeky offer.
Where are bats most likely?
There are certain buildings which are more likely to have bats in the roof and so if you’re not wanting to share a house with bats, then it may be best to avoid the places listed below:
- Housing built before WW1 (before 1914)
- Warm roofs, normally south-facing roofs are a big target
- Buildings close to foraging
- Roofs with large voids
- Roofs or walls which have been built using ‘leaky’ materials, which have lots of access points at the joining’s
- Rural areas
If you’re looking to avoid bats in the roof, features you will want to look for are:
- Small and cold roofs
- Lots of external lighting
- Modern homes
- No gaps in the joining’s of walls and roofs
- Areas close to or in a city
Now you know all things selling a house with bats in the roof in UK, including bat surveys and what type of places to avoid if you don’t want to share a house with bats! What do you think – would you buy a house with bats in the roof? Or are you selling a house with bats and want to give some insight? Whatever it is, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Millie is a perfectionist with a passion for property and writing articles. You’ll find her researching the latest housing trends and the newest up and coming areas worth investing in.