Receiving and reading someone else’s monthly subscriptions and letters only sound fun in theory. It is in our nature to be curious and want to peak a bit, but what if you find something you don’t like, or that could put you in trouble if your partner thinks it’s yours? We can help you find out how to stop getting mail for previous residents before you end up in some weird situation after moving cross country.
We are all aware of how preparing for long-distance moving can be a stressful time. There are so many things to do that it is no wonder many get anxious about moving to another state or have a fear of moving. From struggling with how to pack pots and pans and organizing important papers to worrying about how you’re going to unpack after moving, it all requires one ultimate checklist for moving to a new state to help you keep up with all tasks. Many make these lists to avoid forgetting some of the most commonly forgotten things to pack, but the truth is, packing is not the only thing we get so forgetful about once the big day approaches. Forgetting to change the address is which leads us to our today’s topic, how to stop getting mail from previous tenants, who obviously failed to notify everyone about their cross country moving.
You might not be bothered with one letter or two, but if your mailbox gets crowded with someone else’s subscriptions and papers, you’ll certainly start wondering how to stop mail for previous residents coming to you. There are no moving hacks or one simple answer to how to end it, but if you’re still in the process of packing and preparing your car for shipping, now is the right time to change your address and visit your local post office. Many leave this task for the very last moment, but once the cross country movers you hired for their moving services step in and start bringing in all the boxes and packing supplies, you’ll certainly forget about it.
Imagine a scenario like this. You just moved in with your girlfriend to your first apartment, everything is lovely and bubbly, and then one day she finds a certain Playboy-like magazine in your mailbox. Is she going to jump to conclusions and be like, “we moved in together too soon,” or “how do we stop receiving mail from the previous resident”? Well, it probably depends on how well you two know each other, but the truth is, these and numerous other unpleasant situations can occur because someone forgot to change the address on time.
Maybe the old tenant was a 60-year old woman with a passion for gardening, and now you are receiving her magazines about horticulture. Great, at least you’ll learn how to ship live plants. Maybe it was a young guy, a car aficionado, and now your mailbox is piled up with a bunch of sports magazines. But you didn’t even use auto transport, and you don’t have a license. And those are only some examples of things that could end up in your mailbox. Not to mention personal letters, bills, important papers, and so on. So, what to do with mail for a previous resident?
Keep in mind that you could end up receiving letters for not just only one previous tenant but for several of them, and that situation is not as rare as you would assume. Although this is not really such a big problem, it will eventually start going on your nerves, and you’ll have to do something about it.
You can ignore it, come up with some creative storage ideas for storing it or keep it. If it is a subscription you’re interested in, it will eventually expire, and you’ll stop receiving it. But what’s with bills, letters, and other more personal stuff? Should you open it, throw it, or try to find the real owner and send them? You have several options or steps to consider, so let’s take a look at them.
Are you wondering how do I stop someone using my address? Well, technically, they are not really using it, because you’re the one receiving all the parcels and letters, but still, if you want to find out what to do if you get mail for the previous resident, here are some options you should consider.
Although many’s first instinct would be to throw it in the trash, just because it is not meant for you, it doesn’t mean it is not something important. Who knows, maybe after all the hustle with moving long-distance and unpacking, the old tenant realizes that he forgot to switch the data on time and calls asking for his packages. Then what? Just be patient and keep it for a while to see if anyone comes searching for them. Ask your new neighbors. Maybe some of them have their contact.
This requires a bit more effort, but it could be a perfect solution. Instead of throwing away or piling someone else’s letters, just return them to the sender. Simply write “return to the sender” and put it back in the mailbox. The sender will realize that the person no longer lives there and will probably try to reach out some other way.
If you still have some markers you used for labeling boxes, simply cross out the barcode. Every piece delivered by USPS has them, so cross it, and the system will consider it is undeliverable. So when you don’t have a clue what to do with mail for previous resident USPS barcode could be the solution to your problems.
Another option is to inform your local carrier about what’s going on so that he would know there’s no point in leaving letters for Jack Jonas in your postbox. You can also leave a sticky note saying, “Jack Jonas doesn’t live here anymore” or “Smiths only.”
Pay a visit to your local post office and ask to talk to the manager. Inform them that the person no longer lives there and that you don’t want to be responsible for receiving or storing its letters. Filling a change of location in someone else’s name is not the best thing to do, especially if you don’t have an idea where they are currently living, so try to avoid that.
If you’re still receiving wrongly addressed mail, it is time to file a complaint. Go to your post office and talk to the postmaster about filing a complaint. Explain the situation by phone and schedule a meeting, but keep in mind that it takes from 30 to 45 days for the complaint to be processed and approved. You can also do it by filling out the USPS Form 1500. It was created specifically for unwanted deliveries that are sexually explicit, but it is also used for general orders.
If you’re moving out for the first time, this probably never crosses your mind before, which is why it is good to know that opening and reading someone else’s deliveries is considered a federal offense. Curiosity killed the cat, but if you’re curious enough to open and read others’ letters, it is considered theft, and in some countries, people have to pay a fine or serve some time in prison for that.
Throwing it away is another way of theft because you’re basically making sure that the person will never receive it. It is illegal. The sender will not get it back, so they could think that the person still lives there, and they’ll keep sending more. Maybe the old tenant got a bit late with the change of location but still wants those deliveries and comes looking for them. So try to have a bit of understanding and wait a bit before you take any further steps. It is not like you need to rent storage for all unwanted letters.
Also, even if you find out where that person lives now, you shouldn’t file for the change of location in its name. Only the former tenant has the right to do that, so if you cross that line, you could end up with more problems than other people’s letters and subscriptions pilling in your postbox.
So, to summarize it all in the end, here is a brief video that points out all the things we discussed previously. No opening, reading, or throwing is allowed. Rely on methods that are proven and won’t put you in trouble. You don’t want to end up in trouble because you opened a love letter from someone’s ex or threw away their latest Cosmopolitan.
The thing is, this happens more often than you would assume. It is one of the most common relocation mistakes that many make. Who knows, maybe next time you’re moving interstate, you’ll forget to inform everyone about your change of address on time. So, next time you’re helping a friend move, make sure to give a friendly reminder on the importance of timely informing everyone about the change of location. It will mean more than debating on bubble wrap vs. packing paper for hours at the packing party.