Public liability claims

If you believe you have suffered loss of property, property damage or injury which you consider could be attributed to our negligence you can make a public liability claim against us. This page gives information about how the public liability claims process works.

Claiming against the Housing Executive for personal injury or property damage

If you wish to make a public liability claim, you must follow these steps:

Step 1: Download a copy of the Public Liability Claim Form (PDF icon PDF 276 KB).

Step 2: Read the guidance notes on this page.

Step 3: Complete the form, sign it and provide any necessary supporting evidence. This may include photos, sketches/maps, receipts or estimates.

Step 4: Return the form to:

Insurance and Claims Manager
2 Adelaide Street
Belfast
BT2 8PB

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I have home contents insurance - can I still claim from the Housing Executive?
A: If you have home contents insurance you should make a claim with your insurer and not complete a public liability claim form.

Q: How long will it take to process my claim?
A: It normally takes up to six months to make a decision. However this timescale can vary and depends on how complicated your claim is.

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 Dept for Infrastructure (Roads Service) or is the responsibility of another party

Q: Will I have to attend a meeting at the incident site as part of a personal injury claim?
A: If you provide clear, dated photographs with your claim form showing the surrounding area, it may enable us to identify the exact location. In this case, a meeting on site may not be necessary.

If we can’t 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.

Q: Will the Housing Executive inspect damaged property?
A: As part of our investigation a member of our staff may need 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 keep 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.

Q: What happens if the Housing Executive determines that they are not at fault?
A: As a result of our investigations, it may be found 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.

Q: What happens next?
A: The Housing Executive must investigate every public liability 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.

Q: What happens when the Housing Executive decides to settle a property damage claim?
A: 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.

Q: Can the Housing Executive refer the claim to a claims handling service?
A: 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.

Q: If my claim is turned down can I request a review of the Housing Executive’s decision?
A: We will review a decision on your claim if you can either:

  • identify any new evidence
  • 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 giving your reasons, as outlined above, in writing to:

Insurance And Claims Manager
The Housing Centre
2 Adelaide St
Belfast BT2 8PB

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 the Housing Executive’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 the Housing Executive’s handling of your claim (i.e. how we have processed your case, but not the actual decision, you should send full details in writing 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 343 424 free of charge, or by visiting the Northern Ireland Ombudsman’s website.

 

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