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Demand Letter


Debt Owed
Action Required
Insurance Claim

Your Demand Letter

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________ day of ________________, ________


Dear Sir/Madam,

You were to have paid the amount of $_______ NZD (the "Debt") to me on 26 September 2023, and this Debt remains outstanding despite my requests for payment. The Debt relates to:


The remainder of this document will be available when you have purchased a licence.

Last updated July 18, 2022

What is a Demand Letter?

A Demand Letter serves as a final reminder to resolve an issue before the sender takes legal action against the recipient.

Sending a Demand Letter shows how serious you are about addressing a problem, as it typically sets a hard deadline and warns of the sender’s intent to sue.

A Demand Letter is also known as a:

  • Letter of demand (LOD)
  • Debt collection letter
  • Demand letter for payment

What can I use a Demand Letter for?

You can customise LawDepot’s Demand Letter template for a variety of purposes, including when:

  • Payment is due: Collect a debt that’s owed to you (e.g., you’re a landlord and your tenant fails to pay rent).
  • Action is required: Use this in various situations, such as when someone doesn’t hold up their end of an agreement (e.g., you paid a contractor for work that wasn’t completed, or you entered a contract and the other party breached its terms).
  • Making an insurance claim: Remind an insurance company of their obligations to pay you for costs and damages after an incident (e.g., after you suffer a personal injury).

If the issue goes to court, you can use this document as evidence of the attempts to fix the problem.

How do you write a formal Demand Letter?

You can use LawDepot’s Demand Letter template to write a thorough and legally enforceable document without hiring a lawyer. However, every situation is different, and you may prefer to get legal advice if you have a complicated issue.  

Our template ensures you don’t put any information into your Demand Letter that wouldn’t be needed. Simply answer a set of questions to customise your document, then download it as a PDF or print a copy. 

Follow these steps to write a strong Demand Letter:

1. Explain why you’re writing the letter

State your purpose for writing the letter, whether it be for collecting a debt, demanding action, or making an insurance claim.

2. Give details about the issue at hand

If you’re demanding payment for money owed, include:

  • The outstanding amount
  • When the payment date was
  • A description of the debt (e.g., when the money was lent, the reason for the debt, and any relevant contracts)

If you’re demanding action, include specific details such as:

  • A description of the required action
  • When you want the task completed
  • Any previous contract agreed upon by the parties

If you’re making an insurance claim, include:

  • Details of the incident (e.g., when it happened, the insurance claim number, and a description of the event)
  • A description of any mental or physical injuries, if applicable
  • A description of any lost income, expenses, or damages

3. Attach evidence, if you’ve got it

Any relevant documentation helps enforce your demand.

For example, if the recipient signed a contract, such as a Promissory Note, attach it to your Demand Letter to validate your right to repayment.

Similarly, if you make a demand for action or insurance claim, you can support your argument by attaching relevant documents or photos.

4. State the terms of your settlement (optional)

If you’re making an insurance claim, the settlement is the amount of money you demand from the insurance company.

If you’re collecting a debt, accepting a settlement typically means agreeing to receive less than what a debtor initially borrowed.

Sometimes, this is the best option if you know the debtor is unlikely to repay the full amount. In this case, you’ll at least recover a portion of your money.

Alternatively, you could settle for instalment payments. This term allows the debtor more time to repay you.

5. Provide party details

State the names and contact information of the parties in the Demand Letter (i.e., the sender and recipient). 

How do I send a Demand Letter?

It’s best practice to send your letter on the same day it’s dated. You can ensure that your Demand Letter gets into the recipient's hands by:

New Zealand doesn’t regulate the service of a Demand Letter as it does other legal documents. As such, you could send your Demand Letter by email or text message. In any case, it’s important to verify the recipient gets the Demand Letter.

You may be able to request a read receipt through your service provider (i.e., the recipient sends you a notification when they open your message). However, recipients may need to consent to send a read receipt. This makes email or text messaging unreliable methods for delivering a Demand Letter

What happens when someone doesn’t respond to a Demand Letter?

Typically, a Demand Letter sets a deadline for the recipient to reply. If the deadline passes and the recipient ignores or refuses to agree to the terms in your Demand Letter, your next course of action is to file a lawsuit.

If you need to go to court to resolve the issue, be sure to gather evidence to support your argument (including a copy of your Demand Letter).

You may also want to talk to a lawyer, depending on the size of your claim. For example, if you’re suing someone for less than $30,000, you can typically represent yourself at the Disputes Tribunal of New Zealand

How long after sending a Demand Letter can I expect a settlement?

The timeline for reaching a settlement varies greatly depending on the circumstance.

For private matters, a Demand Letter can be the final push a person needs to repay their debt or complete a task by a specified deadline. People often accept settlement terms in a Demand Letter to avoid a costly and lengthy legal battle. Cases that end up in court can delay you from getting a settlement for months.

If you’re demanding a settlement from an insurance company, expect to wait several weeks for them to conduct an investigation and pay out a claim.

Related documents

  • Promissory Note: Create an enforceable debt agreement when lending money to another person.
  • Release of Liability: Give up your right to a legal claim against someone in exchange for some other compensation.
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement: Protect sensitive information shared between two or more parties.
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