Bat populations in the UK have declined dramatically during the past century. Many roosting sites and feeding grounds have been destroyed, 

while pesticides have not only killed much of their insect prey, but also some of the bats themselves.

The net result of this decline is that all British bats and their roosts are now protected by law. This means you will be committing a criminal offence if you:

1. deliberately capture, injure or kill a bat

2. disturb bats in their roost

3. damage or destroy a bat roosting place (even if it is unoccupied at the time), or if you

4. obstruct access to a bat roost.

In other words, if there really are bats roosting in the house you have found and want to purchase, then realistically you should either forget it and recommence your search or proceed with your purchase and work around the bats.

This may sound rather harsh but it is not such a stark choice as you may think. The fact is, bats have quite a lot going for them. Indeed, many people regard having a roost in their loft space as something of a privilege, and go to considerable lengths to make their small furry guests as welcome as possible!

Bats are clean and sociable animals. They are not rodents, and will not nibble or gnaw at wood, wires or insulation. They don't build nests either, so they don't bring bedding material into the roost. Most bats are seasonal visitors to buildings, so they are unlikely to live in the same place all year round. They do however tend to return to the same roosts year after year. Female bats usually have only one baby a year, so properties do not become 'infested'. Finally, all bats in the UK eat insects which makes them a great form of a natural pest control! On the other hand having bats in your home can have serious implications for any building or remedial work you may want to have done.

Ultimately it is your decision whether you feel comfortable buying a house with bats in it or not. If you want to know more, you can always call the Bat Conservation Trust. You can call their Bat Helpline on 0845 1300 228.