Housing Executive is paying out over £6million in compensation for personal injury and property damage claims, figures show

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The Housing Executive has paid out more than £6million in compensation for personal injury and property damage over the past five years, it has been revealed.

In the past financial year alone, it has settled or been ordered to pay £1.6 million in civil liability cases brought against it by tenants and members of the public.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey disclosed the payments in response to a written Assembly Question by UUP MP Andy Allen.

The Housing Executive is one of the largest providers of social housing in the UK with just under 85,000 properties in its possession across Northern Ireland.

The total bill also includes payments for loss of housing when the Housing Executive needs to take possession of a person’s property.

But the vast majority of payments came after investigations or court cases of negligence on the part of the housing executive resulting in injury or property damage.

In the 2021/22 financial year, £1,606,823 was paid while the previous year the figure was £1,060,728. In 2019/20 he spent £1,579,976 settling claims and in 2018/19 the bill was £1,144,538. The lowest year covered by the ministerial response was £941,729.

According to the response, a payment for a public liability action occurs “when an investigation or court decision has found that, on a balance of probabilities, the housing executive was negligent in the circumstances which gave rise to give rise to a public liability action for bodily injury and/or damage to property”. Mr Allen told Sunday Life: “The amount paid out from 2017 to 2022 was over £6m, which seems like an extremely high amount.

“It is imperative that someone’s home has been damaged and that they have the opportunity to seek redress through the liability claims process.

“However, when someone opens their home for work to be done, the contractor takes every possible step to minimize the risk of damage, as this causes undue stress and anxiety for the tenant in seeking compensation. to repair the damage.”

He added: ‘I will seek further information to verify the detail of successful liability claims against the Housing Executive and the steps they have taken to reduce the need to make such claims.’

The Housing Executive’s latest annual report says it carried out 325,000 repairs to properties in the year 2020-21 and £70million on improvements to the housing stock.

However, a response to a question from Mr Allen revealed that 45 planned maintenance programs were delayed by more than 12 months in the past year.

The annual report also says the housing executive hopes to demolish the first of its towers soon in its tower action plan.

Latharna House in Larne is due for demolition this year to be followed by Monkscoole House in the Rathcoole Estate of Newtownabbey.

The £225m scheme will see its remaining 33 towers either demolished or sold over the next 30 years.

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