How to write a Demand Letter

Ingredients

  • A clear idea of what the problem is and who is implicated
  • A clear timeline of events with dates as specific as possible
  • A legal demand letter template

It is important to have good communication with your landlord, and sometimes informal communication can solve any number of apartment problems from necessary repairs to the behavior of the concierge. If after speaking to your landlord in-person or on the phone or after sending them an email or a text message, they do not address the problem, it is time to send a demand letter.

Did you know, a demand letter sent by registered mail is unfortunately the only official way of informing your landlord about an issue! Any legal action you take first requires giving official notice of the issue to the implicated party. This is the only way you will be able to open a file at the Régie du logement and/or enlist the help of  the city inspectors. It will also let your landlord know that you take the issue seriously and know your rights.

Instructions

  1. An official demand letter often begins with the phrase “Without Prejudice”, as this indicates that your letter is intended as a formal notice of discontent. Remember this letter could be used in court as evidence where a third party could read it, so avoid personal attacks, foul language, and derogatory remarks.
  2. Write your letter in chronological order; list every event, person, and place that is implicated in your demand. This step is to outline your series of events to the other party as well as to any third parties that may become involved. Give details. Reference any emails, phone calls, or text messages exchanged between you and the opposing party.
  3. Make demands. Provide a list in point form of these demands so that the other party clearly knows what you want.
  4. Provide a prospective time limit in which  the other party must act. Generally, giving the other party ten days to execute your demands is sufficient unless the demand needs immediate attention (and is classified by the Régie du Logement as “urgent and necessary”) in which case 24hrs is enough.
  5. Inform the other party of possible legal recourse you will take: this could be taking your landlord to the Régie du Logement, a roommate to Civil Court, or contacting the city inspectors.
  6. Send your demand letter by registered mail or by bailiff. This is what makes it official as the letter requires a  signature in order for it to be received! It is a good idea to print the signed receipt off of the Canada Post Website for your records, and in case you later require this proof of receipt.

FAQ

What if I want to deliver my letter by hand?

You can deliver the demand letter by hand but make sure that you have the recipient sign a copy of the letter in order to show that they received it. Keep this letter, as the signature is what makes it official.

I delivered my letter and my landlord called me saying that they will solve the problem; am I finished?

No! Make sure to have the recipient of your letter respond in writing with specifically how they will address the issues; if you do not have this in writing there is nothing to hold the recipient of your demand letter accountable.

How can I check to see if my letter was received?

If you send your demand letter by registered mail you can check the status of the delivery online at  the Canada Post website, by typing in the tracking number which is printed on the receipt.