When it comes to enforcing contract conditions, a sound demand letter can often get the job done. Carlos Orellana, an attorney with UpCounsel, says demand letters are a useful tool for obtaining payment of what’s due to you, when legal action is not appropriate or when the cost of legal action outweighs the amount owed. But crafting the right demand letter isn’t easy, so here are the top 5 things to consider when writing a demand letter in New York.

The first and most important consideration when writing a demand letter in New York is the deadline for payment. New York law sets the formal deadline for payment at 30 days from the date of the demand letter. This gives the debtor until the end of the 30th day to pay the full amount due, and if they miss the deadline, then the creditor has a stronger legal standing. Any payment plan must be concluded by this deadline.

The second consideration is to include a clear and detailed description of what is owed, including any applicable interest. Any demand letter should include the full amount owed, plus any interest or penalties that have accumulated since the debt first became due. A clear breakdown of the total amount due, and a timeline of when the payments are due, should be included in the letter.

Third, make sure the demand for payment needs to be crafted in a way that puts the addressee on notice that legal action may follow, if payment is not received. A demand letter needs to be professional, but also be firm and forcefully state that failure to make payment will result in further action. This not only puts the debtor on notice of the seriousness of the matter, but also shows a court that the debtor has been made aware of the consequences of nonpayment.

Fourth, it's important to document all communications that you have with the debtor, as the demand letter becomes part of the record should legal action be pursued. Keeping records of the demand letter, as well as any back-and-forth communication that was exchanged between you and the debtor, can be used to justify any court action should it be required.

Finally, it’s best to enlist the help of an experienced attorney. Crafting a demand letter requires a clear understanding of the law and the right tone to get the results you need. An experienced attorney can help you ensure that the demand letter is legally sound and unambiguous as to the payment being requested, as well as how failure to make payment can lead to litigation or other legal remedies.

When crafting a demand letter in New York, many business owners must consider the amount owed, the deadline for payment, how to craft the letter in a way that puts the debtor on notice, documenting all communication, and enlisting the help of an experienced attorney. Using a legal professional is especially important when the amount owed is sizable and future payments hang in the balance.


Demand Letter,

Business Lawyer,

New York