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Protection Of Property

Sunderland City Council has a statutory duty to arrange the protection of property where there is no one willing or able to arrange this. The Council has a legal obligation to protect property under certain circumstances with the owner's permission.

When does the Council protect property?

When there is no one else willing or able, the team will protect client's property under section 47 of the Care Act 2014 (formally, section 48 of the National Assistance Act 1948).

Sunderland City Council has a statutory duty to protect residential property under certain circumstances.  Protection includes safeguarding moveable property in the home when the owner/occupant has to go into hospital or a care home/care home with nursing or is made the subject of a Place of Safety order.

The City Council must be clear that the property is at risk or in danger and that no other person is able to act to secure the property.  Buildings can be secured, which means taking reasonable steps such as locking doors and shutting windows.  If valuables such as cash, jewellery, or antiques have been left in a property, or pets have been left alone, then further action may be necessary.

Permission from the owner/occupant must be sought to enter the property, except where the person is unable to give it due to reasons of ill-health, i.e. the lack of capacity to make a decision.  The usual practice is for 2 members of the Financial Safeguarding Team to enter the premises and carry out any action necessary to protect property, ensuring that the owner's best interests are met.

Who qualifies for this service and is there a charge?

The person must be in hospital, a care home/care home with nursing, or on a Place of Safety in order to qualify for the service. 

Charges for this service will include:

An initial Protection of Property charge

A weekly visit/check fee

Other charges that may be payable depending on client and property circumstances could be:

Locksmith fees if locks need to be changed or fitted

Repairs if they need carrying out to keep the property safe and secure

Garden maintenance

The Council has a duty to recover expenses where possible in order to minimise costs to the taxpayer.


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