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A demand letter is a letter outlining a set of requests you would like another person to fulfill. Demand letters are also used to give notice to someone that you intend to sue them if they don’t fulfill your requests. Wondering how to write a Texas demand letter? In this article, we discuss how to write a demand letter, what to include in a demand letter, and provide a Texas demand letter template.
Common Reasons to Send a Demand Letter in Texas
Below are some common reasons to send a demand letter in Texas:
Someone doesn’t want to repay your personal loan.
Your neighbor caused property damage to your home and refuses to pay for the damages.
You were in a car accident, and the person that caused the damage to your car doesn’t want to pay for your car repairs.
You are suing a business for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
You are a small business owner, and your client refuses to pay their outstanding payments.
Your landlord refuses to return your security deposit.
You lent someone your car, and they refuse to return it, or they are using it without your authorization.
You took your car to a mechanic, and they improperly worked on your car.
Why is Sending a Demand Letter in Texas Important?
Here are a couple of good reasons to send a demand letter before taking legal action in Texas:
Depending on the type of case you are bringing, you may be required to send written notice before taking legal action. For example, if you are filing a small claims lawsuit against a business for violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA), you are required to send written notice and give the business 60 days to respond. 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.
The judge in your case may ask you at your small claims hearing if you sent the other party a demand letter. By sending a written demand letter, there is a record of your attempt to settle that you can demonstrate to the judge.
The most important reason to send a demand letter is that it may lead to a settlement without having to go to court and pay court costs.
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney to Write a Texas Demand Letter?
Ultimately, the decision is up to you. There is no formal requirement that states you need a lawyer to write your demand letter in Texas, you can do it on your own.
Here are some considerations when deciding whether to hire a lawyer to help you write a Texas demand letter:
Legal fees can add up quickly. Even if you just need a lawyer to help you write a demand letter, this could end up costing you more in the long run.
You need help understanding complex legal claims. If you have a complicated legal case, you may need help understanding the law. For example, if you were in a car accident that resulted in personal injuries, you may want to consider speaking with a personal injury attorney, as personal injury law can be quite nuanced.
What to Include in Your Texas Demand Letter
Unsure of what to include in your Texas demand letter, we have included suggestions on the most important things to include:
Discuss the most important facts and explain why you are seeking payment. For example, if you were in a car accident, and the other party was at fault, you want to make sure to include the facts of the car accident and the damages to your car you are requesting the other party pay for.
Include your contact information, so the other party knows where to reach you in case they want to accept your demands. Our clients often choose to communicate via email or other forms of writing. Make sure to include an email address along with any other form of communication you are comfortable with.
Include where you would like to receive payment. Include your mailing address so the other party knows where they can mail a check to you. If you are comfortable with other forms of payment like Zelle or Cashapp, make a note of that in your demand letter.
Attach other documents that may be necessary and could be used as evidence later in case of legal action. For example, attach any contracts or written agreements, pictures of damaged property, or other forms of evidence you believe to be useful.
Include a deadline to respond to you. Consider giving the other party 14 days (unless required to give more or less time by law) to respond to you and state that if they do not respond within that time, you intend to sue them.
Once you have sent your demand letter, 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 claims they didn’t receive the demand letter or if the judge asks questions about the demand letter at the hearing.
Additional Considerations for Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act Demand Letters
If you are suing a business for fraudulent or deceptive practices, you are required to send written notice to the party you intend to sue before filing a small claims lawsuit under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA).
Here are some additional things to consider including in your DTPA demand letter:
Include the specific DTPA violations you are alleging the business has violated. The DTPA has a “laundry list” under Section 17.46(b) of violations a business can commit. Make sure to include the violations you are alleging in the demand letter.
Discuss the damages you are seeking. This should include things like attorneys fees, or additional damages allowed by law. For example, the DTPA allows you to recover for “mental anguish” under Section Sec. 17.50.
Include the 60-day deadline. Under the DTPA, you are required to give the other party 60 days before initiating a lawsuit against them. State in your demand letter that they have 60 days to respond to your demand letter, and if they don’t respond, you intend to sue.
Additional Considerations for Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle Demand Letters
The Unauthorized Use of Motor Vehicle (UUMV) law, under the Texas Penal Code, states that a person commits this offense by intentionally or knowingly using another’s motor vehicle (like a car) without the consent or authorization of the owner of said vehicle. Some Texas County District Attorneys or Texas County Police Departments require that you send a demand letter to the person who has the car or vehicle at the moment before filing felony charges as per the law.
Here are some additional things to consider including in your UUMV demand letter:
Address the demand letter to the person who has the car. Include their first and last name, and last known address.
Ask the offender to return your vehicle. Make sure to request that the person who has your car return it, and if they don’t, felony charges will be filed against them.
Identify the vehicle in question. Include the year, color, make, model, license plate number, etc. You may also be required to include the 17-digit vehicle identification number, which is also called a VIN number. You may be able to find the VIN number on insurance paperwork or vehicle bill of sale.
Include the appropriate deadline. Typically, this will be 10 days prior to filing charges.
Please confirm all demand letter requirements with the appropriate District Attorney's office or Police Department.
Sample Texas Demand Letter
Below is a sample Texas demand letter template. This sample letter discusses services rendered incorrectly by a contractor. When using this sample, replace those facts with facts from your situation and insert the relevant information of your dispute in:
[Other Party’s Name]
[Other Party’s Address]
Via USPS Certified Mail
RE: [insert subject line]
Dear [Other Party’s Name],
I am contacting you demanding payment for [amount owed]. I am attempting to resolve this out of court, but if we cannot come to an agreement, I intend to sue.
Here is a statement of my case that I intend to submit to the court:
I hired [other party’s name] on [date] to remodel the kitchen at my home in [address of where the work was to be performed]. I paid [amount paid] for the work in advance. [Other party’s name] improperly installed all the kitchen appliances, and once the remodel was done, I found out the kitchen was not in functioning order. I am now demanding [amount paid in advance]. I am also asking for [money amount], which is based on an estimate (attached to this demand letter) from another contractor to fix the improper work done by [other party’s name].
I look forward to resolving this matter amicably, and I am amenable to discussing mediation. You may contact me at [your email] if you would like to discuss this matter further. Please send me a check payable to my name to the address listed above.
If I do not hear from you by [14 days from now], you leave me no alternative but to file a lawsuit against you. In the event of a lawsuit, I intend to seek redress to the fullest extent permitted by law, including, but not limited to, additional damages, legal services costs, court costs, and accrued interest.
[Your Name and Signature Above]
Need a specific demand letter template? Read our article here.
How to Send a Demand Letter in Texas
You may send your Texas demand letter via email or mail. For letters that you mail, consider sending your letter with tracking information so that you know when it has been delivered.
What To Do If Your Texas Demand Letter Doesn't Work?
If the individual or business you have a dispute against doesn’t respond to your demand letter, you have several other options available to you. This includes filing a complaint against them with a state or federal agency or suing them in Texas Justice Court.
Consider Filing a Complaint With the Texas Attorney General
Besides writing a demand letter or filing a small claims lawsuit, consider filing a complaint against them with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office handles a variety of complaints against businesses and individuals, which includes security deposits, disputes against auto repair shops, disputes against contractors over home repairs, etc.
Consider Suing in Texas Justice Court
If you are unable to settle your dispute out of court, consider filing a small claims lawsuit in Texas Justice Court. Texas Justice Courts are affordable and user-friendly courts designed to help everyday people resolve their disputes quickly and efficiently. The most important thing to note is that you can only file a claim for $20,000 or less in Texas Justice 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.