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Have you suffered property damage and now need to make repairs or replace the damaged property? An effective way to see if the person that damaged your property will pay for repairs or a replacement of the property is to send a demand letter for property damage. A demand letter is a document outlining a set of requests, in this case, you are requesting repairs or a replacement of the damaged property. To learn more about demand letters and how to write a demand letter for property damage read the article below.
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Common Reasons for Sending a Demand Letter for Property Damage
We see people send demand letters over property damage for various reasons. Here are some of the most common reasons we have seen:
You were in a car accident and the other driver damaged your car.
You hired a contractor to add an extension to your home and they damage your house while working on the extension.
A branch on your neighbor’s tree falls on your roof and makes a hole in it.
Your roommate goes into your room and damages your furniture.
You took your car to a mechanic for repairs and they improperly worked on your car and damage it.
A tow truck as it was illegally towing it away.
Why is Sending a Demand Letter for Property Damage Important?
Here are at least five good reasons we recommend sending a demand letter for property damage before you take legal action:
Depending on the state you are filing a lawsuit in, you may be required to demand payment from the other party before filing. For example, in California small claims court demanding payment is a requirement. A demand letter is an effective way of completing this requirement.
A demand letter can help you better organize your case. If you end up filing a lawsuit you will need to make a concise claim and prove your case to a judge. Writing a demand letter will help you think through every aspect of your case, including the important facts, your legal arguments, and the evidence you'll need to prove your claim. A demand letter will prepare you for litigation even before you file a lawsuit.
A demand letter signals to the other party that you are serious about the dispute and willing to take action to resolve the problem.
Sending a written demand letter assures you there is a record of your attempt to settle. So while demands can be made orally, we recommend writing out your demand letter for property damage. There is also no restriction on text messages, but writing a letter can sometimes be very effective as it is a more formal way of sending making a demand to the other party.
The most important reason to send a demand letter is that it may lead to a settlement without having to go to court.
What to Include in Your Demand Letter for Property Damage
Unsure of what to include in your demand letter? Below we have included a sample demand letter for property damage as well as some considerations.
Here are a few things to consider adding to your demand letter for property damage:
Add as many details about how the property got damaged. For example, your neighbor was playing football in their backyard and a football hits your window breaking it. How much damage did the window sustain? Can it be repaired or will you need a new window? Did the football break anything else inside the house?
Make sure to include exactly what you are demanding payment for. For example, if it will cost you money to hire a professional to repair the damaged property include how much will that cost?
Include how you would like to receive payment. Consider using Venmo or Paypal if you know the other person well. If not include your mailing address so they can mail a check to you.
Include estimates or invoices for repairs done to your property if you wish to be reimbursed for those repairs.
Include supporting documents if you have any. This could include pictures of the property damage, pictures of how the property looked before the damage, estimates for repairs, etc.
Consider giving the other party 14 days to respond to you. Include this in your letter, and state that if they do not respond within that time, you intend to file a small claims lawsuit.
Once you have sent a demand letter for property damage, keep it in your records. In the event, you do end up filing a small claims lawsuit you can bring it to the hearing and show it to the judge. This is especially handy if the other party states they didn't receive the letter.
Sample Demand Letter for Property Damage
Below you will find a demand letter for property damage template. This sample demand letter is addressed to a contractor that damaged a homeowner’s property while working in the kitchen. Remember this is only a sample of a demand letter. Use as many case-specific details when writing your property damage demand letter.
Sample demand letter for property damage after a minor car accident
If the property that was damaged was a car after a minor car accident you may want to include different information in your demand letter for property damage. For example, you may want to include the other driver’s insurance information and even send the driver’s insurance company a demand letter directly. For information on vehicle damage, and a sample minor car accident settlement letter read the article we wrote about No-Injury Car Accidents.
How to Send a Demand Letter for Property Damage
We recommend sending your demand letter for property damage via email or mail. For letters that you mail, consider the following:
Tracking. Make sure to track your property damage demand letter. With tracking, you will know if the letter reached the other party.
Signature Required. You do not necessarily need a signature request. When you send a letter with a signature request, the postal carrier must hand-deliver the letter and the other party must sign the letter.
Once the post office attempts delivery 2-3 times, the post office returns the letter to the sender as "undeliverable.” We don't recommend sending demand letters to individuals at a home address with a signature required. A signature-required mailing does work better when you send the letter to a business that is open during regular delivery hours.
Need help writing a demand letter for Property Damage? Use our free tool to write a demand letter.
Next Steps After Sending a Demand Letter for Property Damage
Did your demand letter go unnoticed or ignored? At this point, you may want to consider suing the other party in small claims court. Small claims courts handle a variety of cases at a low cost, including property damage cases. Small claims courts were intended to be affordable and user-friendly. In some small claims courts, attorneys are not even allowed to represent you! Consider filing a small claims lawsuit if you are not able to settle your property damage dispute outside of court.
Learn how to sue someone in small claims court.
Legal Educator @ People Clerk. Claudia holds a J.D. degree and is a certified mediator in New York and Florida. She has participated in dozens of small claims mediations in New York City courts.