A letter of demand is a letter to the other party who has your goods, asking them to return your goods to you or pay you money for them. It warns the other party that if this is not done you may start a court case to recover the goods.
The time limit to start a court case to recover goods is generally within six years from when you first demanded the return of the goods. For more information about time limits, see Going to court.
A letter of demand may also be called a 'notice of demand'.
It is important to clearly tell the other party that you want your goods back. They may have forgotten or not realised that they still have your goods, or there could be some other misunderstanding.
By sending a simple letter setting out your claim, you may convince them to return your goods or pay you the value of your goods and therefore avoid the need to start a case in court. This will save you time and money. If you end up having to go to court, the letter is evidence of you asking for your goods back.
If there is an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against you, protecting the other party or anyone they have a domestic relationship with, you should get legal advice before sending a letter of demand. Sending a letter of demand may be a breach of the AVO.
When writing your letter, make sure you include:
Your letter of demand should tell the other party:
You should get legal advice before asking for payment for the value of the goods. If you later find out the goods are worth more than you thought, you may not be able to claim the extra amount. For more information, see What are the goods worth?
Once you have written the letter:
Sample: Sample letter of demand - goods
After the other party gets your letter of demand they might:
If you cannot reach an agreement with the other party, you may need to decide whether to start a case in court. It is a good idea to try to resolve your dispute with the other party, before going to court. For more information, see Resolving your dispute.