When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Compensation for damage during repairs

Getting repairs carried out can be a messy business.  If the interior of your home is damaged by contractors carrying out repair or improvement work you could be entitled to compensation.

Redecoration payments

Your property could be scheduled for a planned improvement scheme.  These are schemes where improvement work is carried out on all Housing Executive owned properties in a specific area.  It could be a scheme to

  • replace windows
  • install new heating systems
  • replace roofs.

These schemes can involve a lot of work and it’s not unusual for the internal decoration of your home to be damaged during this work.  If this happens you may be able to claim for a redecoration payment or redecoration allowance. 

Applying for a redecoration payment

Contact your local Housing Executive office if your home was damaged during an improvement scheme and you think you should get a redecoration payment. 

There are set amounts which will be paid out and there are two payment bands; standard rate and higher rate.  The higher rate is there to help people who aren’t physically capable of doing the work themselves and would have to pay someone to do the redecoration.

You will only get the higher rate if

  • you are in financial hardship and
  • because you are elderly, have a disability or are vulnerable it is unreasonable to expect you to carry out the work yourself
  • there is noone living with you who could reasonably do the work
  • there is no community based work scheme in your local area which could do the work for you.

If you’re entitled to the payment, it will be made after all the redecoration work has been completed.  As with all payments to tenants, if you owe rent or a Housing Benefit overpayment the Housing Executive will use the redecoration payment to reduce this debt.

Redecoration payments for window replacements

The Housing Executive started using a new technique to replace windows in 2012.  This technique is supposed to minimise the amount of damage caused to a property when new windows are put in and should mean that the Housing Executive won’t have to make as many redecoration payments.

If your home was damaged after a window replacement, you are still eligible for a redecoration payment, even if the installers used the new technique.  Take pictures of the damage caused and ask the Housing Executive to inspect your property.

Damage caused during repairs

Redecoration payments or allowances are only paid out if damage was caused during an improvement scheme.  But, what do you do if damage was caused in your home by contractors sorting out a repair?  If you have home and contents insurance, you may be able to make a claim on that.

As a public body the Housing Executive has to have Public Liability Insurance.  If you feel that your property was damaged because the contractors used by the Housing Executive acted negligently you can claim against this insurance.

Making a public liability insurance claim

You can download the claim form from the Housing Executive’s website.

Along with the completed and signed claim form, you should send the Housing Executive

  • photographs of any damage
  • copies of any quotes which estimate the cost of repairing the damage
  • receipts for any goods which were broken or damaged by the contractors

It can take a long time to process an insurance claim, often up to 6 months.  The Housing Executive may investigate your claim or it might pass the claim to an outside claims specialist. 

The person investigating your claim may want to speak with you, visit your home or speak to the contractors involved.  If you are claiming for damaged items, don’t throw these away as the investigator may want to see them. If your claim is turned down, contact Housing Rights to find out how to ask for a review or how to make a formal complaint.