I thank the Member for his question. For a payment to be made in a public liability claim, some degree of negligence must be established. Depending on the circumstances giving rise to a water leak, in some cases that negligence may attach to the Housing Executive, while in others it may attach to the contractor. It is also possible that negligence could be established jointly against both the Housing Executive and the contractor. Tenants are advised to have contents insurance in place, but that is not always affordable. The Housing Executive provides useful guidance and information on public liability claims on its website, and I welcome comment on that content from anyone who looks at it.
I will certainly have another look at it. The Member tells me that it needs cleared up, so I will need to have a look at it. I will write to the chief executive and the chair of the board thereafter. Any guidance on a departmental website needs to be as clear and plain as possible so that people can access the information and services that they need.
I will have to respond in writing, because I do not have that information. When responsibility is contested, the situation can become protracted, and it is tenants who are, unfortunately, caught in the middle. I do not think that anyone thinks that is a satisfactory position to be in. I will get the information in writing to the Member.
For anyone who has been subjected to water damage and leaks, particularly if a contractor has been in, once is enough. As I said to the Member for Strangford, Mr Mike Nesbitt, I will provide the Member with a breakdown of what has happened, even for 2019-2020, and I will share it with Mr Robinson, who asked the listed question, to determine whether the Housing Executive was responsible or the contractor was responsible, and what the outcome was, if any.
I ask the Minister about the importance of updating tenants on their responsibilities to have proper insurance cover for contents and the like. We are coming into really cold weather. We have had a wee sample of it. We do not want people being left literally wet and caught with no cover at all, and their house possibly ruined through flooding or another circumstance that has occurred in their home as a result of poor weather.
The Member probably heard what I said at the start of my answer to Mr Robinson. It is about affordability. For many families who are on low income and living in poverty, they are often dealing with a decision either to pay for house insurance or to feed their kids. It is the tenant's responsibility — it is in the tenant's handbook — and housing associations and the Housing Executive constantly remind tenants of it. When you are talking about families living in poverty, however, house insurance is not at the top of their list.