Put It In Writing: 5 Ways That A Demand Letter Can Benefit You
Have you ever asked your landlord for your deposit back at the end of your lease, only to be given the runaround? Have you ever dealt with an insurance adjuster in a property damage or accident claim who gave you the runaround after you provided proof of the damage?
In these situations, verbal communication is not enough. You have to communicate in a different way. Here are 5 ways that a demand letter can benefit you.
1. You can put your “ask” in writing. With a demand letter, you are essentially putting your “ask” in writing. For example, you are asking for your deposit back, or you are asking for a certain amount as compensation for the damage done to your property or for the injuries you suffered in an accident. The benefit of putting your “ask” in writing is that you communicate clearly what you are looking for, and the other party cannot claim that they never spoke to you.
2. You can put any previous verbal communications in writing. If the other party promised that they would pay you, return your deposit, etc., then a demand letter gives you the opportunity to place the verbal communication in writing. Your demand letter can start with:
Dear John Landlord,
It was a pleasure speaking with you on the phone on February 9, 2017. As we discussed, you are required to return my rent deposit or provide an itemization of the offsets to my deposit within 10 days from the date in which I move out. This letter confirms that you agreed to return my rent deposit no later than February 19. This letter further confirms that you will wire the rent deposit to my bank account…..”
A lawyer can assist you with the exact language to place in your letter or can even write the letter for you.
3. You force the other party to communicate with you in writing. Question: What do you get when you send the other party a demand letter and they respond in writing? Answer: a paper trail. A phone conversation can always be denied. But there is no denying a paper trail. And if things turn sour between you and the other party, you have a paper trail that you can show your lawyer or that you can use in court.
4. The other party knows that you are taking matters seriously. This is especially true if the letter comes from your lawyer. When the other party receives your letter, they know that you are taking the matter seriously, and that you completely expect them to take the matter seriously too or the outcome could be litigation.
5. The other party will communicate with you in writing when they want something, so why not you? Have you noticed that when it comes time for the other party to pay you, they always want you to “sign something”? They make it seem like it is just standard procedure or that it is meaningless, but in reality you are signing a binding legal document such as a release of liability or offer of settlement, which prevents you from bringing a claim against them in the future.
You should take a similar approach. Although you should speak to a lawyer before sending a binding legal document to the other party or before signing anything, writing to the other party is a clear indication that you want something.
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