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How to Stop Getting Mail for Previous Residents

Are you tired of receiving somebody else’s letters? Then you need to learn how to stop getting mail for previous residents. It could be a one time mistake, but if you notice that it’s happening over and over again, that means that the post office isn’t updated on the former tenants’ relocation. If the person moved nearby, you can just knock on their door and give them their letters, but if they went on a cross country moving adventure, there are a couple of things you can do to fix this.

Red postbox
Don't know what to do with letters and monthly subscriptions that are not yours? We have a few tips for you

So, you’re finally done with all long-distance moving services, and you happily moved into your new home. There’s only one problem. You realized that the former tenants didn’t change their address when they moved. That is one of the common moving mistakes, and it means you’re left with all of their letters each month. Maybe they had last-minute moving and anxiety about moving out, so they forgot, or they simply didn’t know that they should have done that. It’s also possible that the person changed their place of residence but didn’t notify all of the magazines they subscribed to. The scenarios are endless, but there’s no reason to worry about this – there are simple ways to stop receiving mail from the previous resident.

What to Do When You Get Mail for the Previous Resident? The First Step Is Not to Discard It

It’s very important to know that opening or reading mail that’s not addressed to you is considered theft, and it’s a felony crime. You can even end up with five years in prison. On the other hand, throwing away letters that aren’t intended for you is a federal crime. If you destroy someone else’s letters, you’re committing obstruction of correspondence, and that is also a felony crime.

Don’t Stress Over Getting These Letters

This is a pretty common situation that happened at least once to everyone after finding reasons to move, creating a moving budget, and moving cross country. Since you can’t open or toss something that’s addressed to the person who lived there before you, you can only learn how to stop mail for previous residents. The US Post Office delivers millions of letters and packages each day, so a mix up is a normal and understandable thing.

What Do I Do With Previous Residents Mail?

Are you wondering what to do with mail from the previous tenant USPS delivered to you? Since you can’t toss it away, the best advice is to keep it closed, in good condition, collect it, and return it to the individual that they belong to. If you receive letters and magazines from different people, separate them. It’s a possibility that the only one who can solve this problem is yourself, so be sure that you have all the mail that has been coming to your home since the day you hired cross country movers.

An older man talking on the phone
Be patient when solving this problem

How to Stop Getting Mail for Previous Residents? One of the First Things to Try Is to Write “Return to Sender” on the Envelope

There are a couple of answers to what to do if you get mail for the previous resident. One of the simplest ways to fix this is to take the letters that aren’t addressed to you and to write “return to sender” or “not on this address” on the exterior. Then, take it to the outgoing mailbox and put them inside. That will notify the post office and the sender that they’re sending letters to the wrong home. Hopefully, they will soon update their records, and you’ll end receiving things that aren’t meant for you.

Putting a Sticky Note on the Mailbox Could Be the Best Method

Dealing with other people’s magazines and bills each month can only worsen relocation depression in case you have it. To help yourself and the other individual, put a large sticky note on your letterbox saying that former residents don’t live there anymore and write names of people that are now in your home and that could possibly get it. Make the note visible – it will serve as a constant reminder for your postman. Also, consider taping the entire paper with transparent tape so that the letters don’t get ruined because of the rain or snow.

A letterbox
Putting a large visible sign that someone doesn't live at your home anymore can be helpful

Crossing Out the Barcode Is One of the Things You Should Do if You’re Wondering How Do I Stop Getting Old Tenant’s Mail?

If you’ve written “return to sender” on the envelopes and the letters still find their way back to your house, there are more tips we can share with you. If you don’t know what to do with mail for previous resident USPS barcodes can help a lot. Before popping the mail back to the mailbox, cross out the barcode. Since many things are done automatically, if you want a human eye on the note you’ve written, mark out the barcode that USPS uses to sort the mail. The piece will then become undeliverable, and it will have to be hand-inspected.

Letters
If there's no barcode, the system will not recognize the letter, and someone will have to take a look at those pieces

File a Complaint to Your Mail Carrier About the Letters That Aren’t Addressed to You

It could happen that none of these methods are successful but don’t lose your hope just yet. If you’ve just recently moved to a big city, figure out when the mailman comes. If you’ve moved to the suburbs, maybe you even met the man or woman who delivers letters and other pieces to your mailbox. Meet them, and talk to them about this issue. You can give them the piles of wrongly delivered letters and ask them to find the right place of residence for the former tenants.

If the carrier worked in your area for a long time, it’s possible that they have an idea where the people that lived in your place are now. Then, you can go to the USPS and let them know that the residents whose letters are in your mailbox have hired long distance movers and are now in another state. If they don’t seem interested in your problem, don’t rely on them. If your postman is a conscious one, he could also help.

Take a Look at This Video for a Summary of All Ideas on How to Stop Getting Mail for Previous Residents

This brief video summarizes all the above-listed tips, so take a good look at it and don’t give up until you try them all.

If None of This Works, That’s When You Should Contact the Companies That Send the Mail

If you already tried everything we listed and you still don’t know what to do with mail for previous resident, the only thing left is to call directly the companies that are sending them. If you can’t find the direct phone number, try contacting them via their PR representative or send them an email. Let them know that the person who subscribed to their newsletters or magazines doesn’t live there anymore and that they need to stop sending other people’s mail to you.

A smiling woman talking on the phone
Emailing or calling the sender directly might save the day

How Do I Stop Someone Using My Address?

You figured how to rent your home to another family, and you now see that someone else is receiving your letters? In case you’re the one who didn’t change their place of residence after learning moving day tips and hiring a cross country moving company, you’re now probably dealing with someone who’s using your address.

If you realized that there is someone who’s receiving your letters and isn’t contacting you about it, try to get in touch with them. You can ask your former landlord to call them or ask for contact information and get in touch with them yourself. Kindly ask them to quit taking your mail and to return it to you. In the meantime, you can also call USPS and give them your new place of residence to redirect all of your letters to you directly.

If the Person Using Your Address Caused You Damage, Call the Police

Have you noticed that someone is using your former physical address as a false one to hide from their taxes or that your bills are now higher than they used to be? It could be possible that someone is committing fraud with your personal information. These things are punishable, and you should tell the police what’s going on, but use the non-emergency number. Check your state laws to see what the punishment is. Also, don’t forget to notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service as well and file a complaint. You can visit them or report mail fraud online.

A man typing on a laptop
Keep an eye out for this problem and see if it's fraud or simply a mistake

Can I Stop Mail From Coming to My House?

The answer is – of course. Whatever might be your reason to stop receiving letters, you can call the US Postal Service and ask them to hold your mail. This service can be used if you’re going somewhere, and you don’t want your mailbox to be loaded while you’re gone. USPS can hold up your letters for up to thirty days until you return. You can ask for this service in advance – either thirty days upfront or before the first scheduled day of delivery. If you want to get rid of every mail permanently, you can unsubscribe from all the companies, or you can ask them to send you emails instead of paper letters.

United States Postal Service sign on a wall
If you're traveling somewhere, the United States Postal Service will hold your letters up to a month

Help Everyone by Changing the Address When Moving Cross Country

To save everyone’s time and money, just fill out the form for change of address before you start ordering boxes and packing supplies, scheduling packing services, or renting storage because then you’ll certainly forget about it. It is one of the crucial parts of how to organize important papers.

You can do it in person at the nearest post office or online – whatever you find more convenient. The online option is the fastest, and you will immediately get the confirmation email. If you decide to go and do this personally, you should request a Mover/s Guide packet. There, you will find the PS Form 3575 that you should fill out and submit.

There’s Also a Solution for Temporary Long-Distance Moving

If you’re hiring long distance movers and moving across the country for a short period of time, you can also choose just to forward your letters. This service can be used for moves that last from fifteen days to one year. Any hiring of a long-distance moving company for moves longer than a year means that you should change your place of residence.

Don’t forget to check out recommendations for moving companies before you opt for a specific company. They should be able to provide you with not only household relocation but with auto transport as well. Let them estimate the value of your household goods and do all the work, while you can focus on making friends in a new city and adjusting to a new country after moving.