Have you ever looked at a pile of mail addressed to previous residents and wondered what to do with it? Do you toss it? Forward mail to their new address? Return it to sender? Hold onto it indefinitely? It can be a confusing and frustrating situation for landlords to deal with, but there is a proper way to handle it.

In this guide, we’ll explore the options available to landlords when dealing with mail from previous residents and provide tips on handling it in a way that is responsible and beneficial for your business.

How to Stop Mail from Previous Residents

If you’re looking for ways to stop getting mail from previous residents delivered to your property, there are a few things you can do.

First, contact the post office to have mail addressed to the previous resident forwarded. This relatively simple process requires providing some basic information, such as the former resident’s name and forwarding address. The post office will forward any remaining mail for up to one year after the tenant moves out.

Secondly, you can mark the envelopes you receive with “return to sender” or “no longer at this address”. This way, when the postal carrier receives the mail, they will return it to their office and return it to the sender.

Some Commonly Asked Questions About Previous Resident’s Mail

Why Should I Be Concerned About Having a Resident’s New Address?

Having a previous resident’s new address is essential for several reasons. Firstly, it allows you to return any security deposits that haven’t been collected. Additionally, if any legal action is ever taken against the former residents, having their address will make it easier to send letters and notices as needed.

Can I Open and Check Mail Belonging to a Previous Resident?

Opening someone else’s mail, even if delivered to your property, is illegal and can result in hefty fines or prison time. So you should always avoid opening mail belonging to a previous resident. Instead, write “not at this address” or “return to sender” on the envelope and place it in a mailbox.

What Happens If I Don’t Forward the Mail or Return It?

If you do not take proper steps to handle the mail from a previous resident, someone may take legal action against you for negligence. Therefore, taking measures to responsibly manage your resident’s mail is essential.

Should I Fill Out a Change of Address Form for the Previous Resident?

Filling out a change of address form for the previous residents is a federal crime and can result in fines or prison time. The only people allowed to file a change of address form on behalf of the former resident are an executor, guardian, or authorized agent.

Anyone else attempting to do so will be subject to legal consequences. It is best to contact the post office and have the mail forwarded instead.

Can I Throw Away Mail from My Previous Resident?

Throwing away mail that is not yours, even if it is addressed to a previous resident, is illegal and can result in severe consequences. It is best to contact the post office and have the mail forwarded or return it as “no longer at this address” instead of discarding it. Landlords are not allowed to throw any mail, even if it’s junk mail addressed to the previous resident.

What If My Former Resident Has Passed Away?

If your former resident has passed away, it is essential to contact the deceased’s next of kin to inform them of the mail that has been received.

Another option might be time-consuming, but you may also enter your deceased resident’s name on the Direct Marketing Association website. It takes about three months for the request to be processed, and all mail addressed to that person will stop. If this doesn’t work, you can also write “deceased, return to sender” on the mail’s envelope and drop it back in the mailbox.

Do I Need to Hold onto Mail for an Extended Period?

No, landlords are not responsible for holding the mail they receive for the old resident for any extended period. Once the Postal Service has been notified, it is generally best to keep any mail received until it is returned or the sender stops sending mail altogether.

If you see a pattern of mail continuing to arrive for the former resident, it may be a good idea to contact them and inform them that they should update their mailing addresses. This will help ensure that any important documents are recovered in the process. Additionally, if a former resident refuses to fill out change of address forms, you may have grounds for legal intervention.

Role of USPS in Managing Resident’s Mail

The US Postal Service has a vital role in managing residents’ mail. The USPS has a process for managing residents’ mail when residents move or pass away. The USPS will first look for any endorsements on the mail; if none are present, they may legally discard it.

If there is an endorsement, like “forward,” then the USPS will attempt to locate the intended recipient and reroute the mail accordingly. If the USPS is notified of a resident’s death, they will work with the next of kin to stop any further mail from being sent.

Additionally, the USPS website allows landlords to request that all incoming mail be stopped and returned as “no longer at this address”.

Final Words

Landlords and new residents need to understand that handling mail from previous residents properly is essential not just for legal purposes but also to ensure that important documents are preserved. You always want to maintain a positive relationship, even after residents have moved out.

It is also important to contact the post office and have them forward any mail received from previous residents until it stops coming altogether. Taking these steps will help ensure that all mail is handled appropriately and that no one is subject to any penalties.

If you want to stop worrying about previous residents’ mail altogether, let PURE Property Management help you. As a full-service property management company, we take care of everything, including previous residents’ mail. Get in touch today to learn more about our services!