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Damage against the council

You may wish to make a claim against the council because you or your family have suffered injury, your possessions have been damaged and you believe the incident is the fault of the council or has happened because of the negligence of one of their employees.

Example: A council employee redecorating a room fails to take reasonable precautions to protect the tenant's furniture and damage is caused.

The council has public liability insurance to meet their legal liabilities to pay compensation in these circumstances. The policy insures the council, not individual residents and any claim on their insurance has to be made by the council staff.

Should you make a claim?

It is important to remember that compensation will only be paid if there is a legal liability on the council. If you suffer damage because a tenant living above you has caused their bath to overflow this would not be the fault of the council and no compensation would be payable. You would need to make a claim against the tenant upstairs or on your own contents insurance if you have it.

Contents insurance

It is recommended all residents have contents insurance. The council offer a Tenants Insurance Scheme for a low weekly premium payable with rent, which insures tenants against loss and damage.

An important considering when deciding whether to make a claim on the council's insurance is the way the compensation is assessed. Even if successful a claim on liability insurance is not settled on a 'new for old' basis. The amount to be paid is reduced to take account of the age of the item and wear and tear. For example a 10 year old carpet subjected to a general amount of wear and tear would be subject to a 50% reduction from the original purchase price. You may prefer to make a claim on your own insurance as contents insurance is usually on a 'new for old' basis.

It is worth remembering that unlike a liability claim, a contents claim is not subject to legal liability. It is not necessary to show someone was at fault, instead it is a simply case of whether the item claimed for is covered under the policy. Of course if your contents insurer felt there might be some legal liability on the part of the council they may make a claim against the council but this would not hold up any payment due to you under your insurance.

How to make a claim

If you want to make a claim against the council for loss or damage you need to write to the council giving full details of the incident and what you are claiming for. This should include:

  • your name and address
  • details of damaged items and/or nature of injury
  • value of the damaged items (if property damage claim)
  • whether you have any proof of value
  • the alleged cause of the damage/injury
  • the date the alleged incident occurred
  • description of how the alleged incident occurred
  • whether there were any witnesses to the incident

Written claims should be sent to your local Community Housing Team.

What happens next

The tenancy management officer or repairs manager will compile a report that will be used to provide details of any claim to the council's insurers. The insurers will assess all the information and decide if there is any legal liability. As part of the report the tenancy management office or the repairs manager may need to visit your home to assess the damage and take photographs or collect other evidence. The incident report will be compiled within three weeks of you reporting a claim.

More information

If you want more information about making an insurance claim please contact your local Community Housing Team.

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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 09 Oct 2015 at 15:56