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Public liability claims

Updated: 19 Dec 2014
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If you believe you have suffered loss of property, property damage or injury which you consider could be attributed to the Housing Executive's negligence you should complete a Public Liability Claim form. Please read the guidance notes below before completing the form and sending it to:
General Services Manager
1st Floor Housing Centre
2 Adelaide Street
Belfast
BT2 8PB

Claiming for personal injury or property damage against the Housing Executive

What documentation should I provide to support my claim?

You should provide a completed, signed claim form and supporting evidence: photographs, sketch/map, receipts/estimates.

I have home contents insurance - can I still claim from the Housing Executive?

If you have home contents insurance you should make a claim with your insurer and not complete a public liability claim form.

How long will it take to process my claim?

It normally takes up to six months to make a decision. This timescale is for indicative purposes only and depends on the complexity your claim.  For example, to investigate your claim thoroughly, we may have to check the following
  • Whether or not a contractor or other organisation is involved and obtain reports.
  • Whether or not the accident location is adopted for maintenance by the DRD or is the responsibility of another party.

Will I have to attend a meeting at the incident site as part of a personal injury claim?

Provision of clear, dated photographs with your claim form showing the surrounding area may enable us to identify the exact location and so a meeting on site may not be necessary. If we cannot identify the exact location from the photographs, a site meeting will be arranged with a member of our staff so that you, or your legal representative, can show us the exact location.

Will the Housing Executive inspect damaged property?

In the course of our investigation it may be necessary for a member of our staff to establish the cause and inspect the damage to your property. Such visits form part of our investigations and do not mean that we are accepting liability. You should retain damaged items for inspection. If, for health and safety reasons, you find it necessary to dispose of damaged items you should give notice of your intention to the Housing Executive. In the event that you have already replaced damaged goods or carried out repairs, please retain the damaged property and/or provide photographs of it.  You would be expected to mitigate your loss.

What happens if the Housing Executive determines that they are not at fault?

As a result of our investigations, it may be established that a contractor or another person or organisation may have caused the alleged defect in question. In those circumstances details will be passed to that person or organisation to further investigate your claim and you will be advised to contact them directly and we will close our file.

What happens next?

The Housing Executive must investigate every claim to establish whether or not it has a defence to the allegations made. When our investigations are complete we will notify you of our decision in writing.  For a claim to succeed there must be evidence of negligence on the part of the Housing Executive.

What happens when the Housing Executive decides to settle a property damage claim?

If the decision is taken to settle your property damage claim, please note that the amount of compensation offered will be the amount estimated to return your property to the condition it was in immediately prior to the damage. There is no legal entitlement to "new for old", therefore the amount of compensation paid may be less than the amount claimed.

Can the Housing Executive refer the claim to a claims handling service?

We may decide to send your property damage or personal injury claim to an independent claims handling service who will contact you directly. We will let you know if we have referred your claim to them for consideration.

If my claim is turned down can I request a review of the Housing Executive’s decision?

We will review a decision on your claim if you can either:-
  • identify any new evidence, or
  • set out the reasons why the decision on your claim may be incorrect
If you are still not satisfied with the decision you can ask for the claim to be reviewed by:
General Services Manager
The Housing Centre
2 Adelaide St
Belfast BT2 8PB
You should give your reasons as outlined above.
If you are still unhappy after this review and wish to challenge our decision you may wish to seek legal advice.

Fraudulent claims

It is NIHE’s duty to refer all suspected fraudulent claims to the PSNI for further investigation and, if appropriate, prosecution.

Complaints procedure

If, during or after the processing of a claim, you wish to complain about any aspect of NIHE’s handling of your claim (i.e. how we have processed your case, but not the actual decision – see 10 above), you should, in the first instance, send full details to:
Assistant Director - Financial Support Services
Northern Ireland Housing Executive
2 Adelaide Street
Belfast BT2 8PB
Your complaint will then be investigated as a First Stage Complaint and a response will be sent to you within 15 working days. If you are not happy with the response received you can then write to:
Chief Executive
Northern Ireland Housing Executive
2 Adelaide Street
Belfast BT2 8PB
If you remain dissatisfied following the Chief Executive’s investigation you can refer your complaint to the Northern Ireland Ombudsman for an independent assessment.
The Ombudsman will expect you to have used the procedure outlined above before a complaint is investigated by his office.
You can contact the Ombudsman for advice by phoning (0800) 343424 free of charge, or by visiting the Northern Ireland Ombudsman’s website.