Bats in attic -- legal recourse?

mykinator1July 15, 2009

Hi, we closed on our first house about a month ago. We were originally very glad to have a fairly clean home inspection report. However, a few nights ago, we were eating out on the patio when we heard a scratching noise in our roof -- this lasted half an hour -- and then about half a dozen bats squeezed out from under the overhang of the roof. It was kind of creepy, like the scene from Batman Begins.

We are pretty much resigned to that fact that these bats have made their home in our roof or attic at this point, and we did some research on bat exclusion and guano cleanup and it might cost in the thousands of dollars!

Our question is: we were not disclosed about this information prior to purchasing the home, and the inspector did not mention bat guano to us... had we known, we probably would have thought hard before purchasing. Is there any possible legal recourse on the previous owner and/or home inspector for neglecting to inform us of bats in the roof?

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davidandkasie

6 bats ain't gonna leave a lot of poop. 60 or 600, yeah you would have a health issue. best advice is to get up there and find where they are living and see how bad it is. they may have just moved in and no one knew they were there. if so, then you need to have them removed and seal the entrance.

your inspector won't be liable for anythign beyond his fee he charged you. and even that is doubtful. around here the inspector takes a very brief look in the attic and that is to determine insulation and HVAC quality. the contracts specifically state they are not looking for pests as they are not certified to do so.

Welcome to home ownership where if it ain't one thing it is another.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 12:25PM
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logic

davidandkasie is correct; pest inspection is beyond the scope of a home inspection in accordance with nationally accepted standards and most if not all state licensing laws.

As far as the sellers are concerned...you would have to prove they knew the bats were in the attic. Not an easy task.

Last but not least, some bats species are now somewhat endangered, as a mysterious disease called "white nose syndrome" has killed off hundreds thousands of them in the Northeast.

As they eat a tremendous amount of bugs...including mosquitos, this is very bad for the ecosystem.

That said, please get professional advice on how to discourage them from roosting in your attic.

Here is a link that might be useful: White nose syndrome

    Bookmark   July 15, 2009 at 4:53PM
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GammyT

mykinator1, you saw their exit point. A fast fix would be buy a roll of window screen that you can also use to repair your window screens if needed.

Then, sit outside again, after the bats leave, get out the screen and the staple gun so they cant get back in. That is the quick temporary fix. Then the hole needs to be fixed.

Legal, you signed off on the Home Inspectors report and closed on the house "about a month ago".

It would cost you more in legal fees to proove the seller knew there are "half a dozen bats" or the inspector missed the 6 bats.

Wait until the 6 leave at night then block their access. Do this ASAP before the 6 who think they found a new home, have babies.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2009 at 5:00PM
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timaran

Logic is correct: soime bat species are endangered and are legally protected. I would recommend that you find out what kind of bats you have, and whether they are protected. Then get advice from wildlife officials in your area regarding how to appropriately remove them from your home.

Also, do take note of Logic's point about the enormous number of insects, including disease bearing ones like mosquitos, that bats eat. While you understandably don't want them in your house, it is to your advantage to have them in your area. If you have trees or other appropriate sites (as identified by the wildlife officials), you might want to consider putting up "bat boxes" for them to roost in.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2009 at 8:10AM
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ron6519

Place bat houses around the property to give them an alternative to the attic.
Ron

    Bookmark   August 16, 2009 at 11:13PM
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