A letter of undertaking is written by one party to another, describing the scope of work that's going to be provided. These letters are common with contractors, shipping providers and real estate investors. While it isn't a contract, the letter is an assurance of previously discussed expectations and agreements. Write a letter of undertaking in clear, concise language to avoid confusion.

Aspects a Formal Agreement 

The letter of undertaking is not a contract. Contracts are signed by both parties and often contain disclaimers and a lot of legal jargon. While the letter of undertaking isn't a contract, it is a formal agreement with legally binding ramifications in court. A letter states the intention of the sender with details about how a project will be done. The sender signs the letter in good faith knowing that both parties have already agreed upon the terms. Recipients expect the letter's arrival and should not be surprised by its contents.

Clear Outline of Intentions

The letter of undertaking clearly states the intentions of the sender using plain language. Intentions include the starting date, the cost and anticipated duration to completion for the project. Summarize costs according to the agreed terms, either for the entire project or on a per-hour or per-day basis.

The letter also clearly explains the work to be done. For example, a painter's letter of undertaking would state what part(s) of the house will be painted, such as internal or external, defining the colors that will be used. Any equipment such as scaffolding is also stated in the letter with any additional costs or anticipated needs such as property access. The painter is the author of the letter, providing it to the homeowner before work begins.

Conditions of Termination 

While a letter of undertaking is written and signed by only one party, it is based on mutual agreement. As such, the parties have a right to terminate the contract. The viable reasons for termination are listed in the letter. Reasons might include extended delays, unexpected costs or other violations of the agreement.

How to Format Letters of Undertaking

Standard formatting practice for business letters uses an equal 1-inch margin on all sides. Use professional fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial in an 11 or 12 point font size. Use block formatting with all lines starting on the left margin with one space between blocks of information. The first block is the sender's name and contact information followed by the second block, which is the date of the letter. The next block is the recipient's name and contact information followed by the salutation and then the main body of information. Keep the closing professional, and sign the letter in black or blue ink.