How to Stop Getting Mail for Previous Residents

By in How-to November 8, 2020

The US Postal Service delivers around 143 billion pieces of mail per year. However, even with a huge volume like that, mistakes can happen. If you moved recently and still receive letters addressed to somebody else, you might want to know how to stop getting mail for previous residents. Knowing all the do’s and don’ts, as well as who to turn to, will help you solve this problem as soon as you notice it.

When a long-distance moving company unloads all of your belongings to your home, you probably want to start adjusting to a new location as soon as possible. Having to deal with other people’s letters might not be your idea of fun times. That’s why to help you resolve the problem as soon as possible, we share these useful tips that answer questions like How do I stop getting old tenants mail, What do I do with previous residents Mail, Can I stop mail from coming to my house, and How do I stop someone using my address.

Follow Every Legal Step and Don’t Open the Mail That’s Not Addressed to You

During the whole moving state to state process, you probably dealt with an extensive relocation to-do list. However, your tasks won’t be done when the cross country movers deliver your boxes. There are many things to do after moving interstate that you should think about. One of them is figuring out how to stop mail for previous residents.

However, long before you reach out to the United States Postal Service and type into Google “what to do with mail from the previous tenant, USPS?“, you should know what not to do with it. By knowing all the do’s and don’ts, you won’t break any laws, and then you’ll be able to efficiently solve a problem at your hands without a fuss.

Don’t Throw Away Stuff That Is Not Yours

When you are wondering What do I do with previous residents Mail, it is essential not to throw it away. You might not know this but throwing away and preventing someone from receiving their letter is a Federal crime. This is something that is not only counterproductive but also illegal.

Just put yourself in the position of former tenants, imagine you are the one that was in a hurry to apply house hunting tips while creating the moving expenses checklist. Figuring out how to change the address would probably also slip your mind. Keep in mind that those people would likely want their stuff delivered, so be courteous and help them out.

Furthermore, this also means that you shouldn’t open other people’s letters because it is a federal offense to do so. Suppose you are still feeling the consequences of moving stress and don’t pay attention to the letters you are opening, and you accidentally take one that’s not yours, just place it back in the mailbox. Refusing to do so can serve you up to five years in prison or make you pay a massive fine.

You Shouldn’t Fill Out a Change of Address

When you are wondering How do I stop someone using my address, you should avoid doing anything rash like filling out a change of address form. Even though it sounds like an easy and tempting thing to do, redirecting letters is illegal unless you are a former resident, a guardian, or an authorized officer. This action is also something that can get you fined or put in prison.

If you are unsure about what is legal and an illegal procedure for handling other people’s letters, the video below can provide you with some useful insights.

Using USPS Is One of the Ways How to Stop Getting Mail for Previous Residents

When you got all those letters that need to be returned to the sender, you did the right thing by not throwing them away or opening them, so now it is time to ensure they stop arriving at your house. Using USPS to put an end to this can be the solution you are looking for.

Write Not at This Address on the Envelope

If you are still wondering what to do with mail for the previous resident that USPS delivered, just collect all the envelopes and write “Not at this location” or something similar. After you’ve done that, put them in an outgoing dropbox. This way the original sender will be notified that the recipient doesn’t live at the same location.

The Best Method to Stop the Letters Is to Approach a Carrier Directly

When you were going over tips for moving out of state, some of them probably advised you to do a thorough research of your new location. This means that you probably know where your local post office is. Take advantage of this information when you want to prevent other people’s letters from jamming your mailbox. Visit a postal office and ask Can I stop mail from coming to my house. Employees will ask for some envelopes you received that are not yours. Give them to the postal service personnel, and they will notify the station manager about your problem. This is one of the more efficient ways to solve the problem at your hands.

You Can Always Put a Big Sign on Your Mailbox

This is a method people moving from apartment to house use the most because it is the easiest one. Just grab one big sticky note and place it on your mailbox. Write neatly, with big letters that the former resident doesn’t live there anymore. This will serve as a reminder to postal workers, and they will eventually remember not to bring you other people’s packages.

A line of droboxes
Talk to your post carrier or put a sticker on a dropbox if you want to return a letter to the sender

Cross a Barcode That’s Corresponding to Your Address Can Also Be Effective

When moving across the country, you have to figure out many things, from how to change voter registration to other essentials like what do you need to rent an apartment. However, when you settle in, there are other things besides making friends in the new city that require your attention, and one of them is finding the answer to the question How do I stop getting old tenants mail.

The easiest way to do this is to cross out the barcode on the envelope you find in your mailbox. Try this if writing “not at this location” doesn’t get the job done. Crossing the barcode is more efficient because USPS uses them to sort the envelopes. When you do so, the system will register the letter as undeliverable, resolving your problem.

USPS employee checking barcodes
Make sure you cross a barcode if you want to return something to the sender

Filing a Complaint Is One of the Things You Can Do to Stop Receiving Mail From the Previous Resident

During the relocation process, you have to deal with moving away from friends, and when you settle in, you have to figure out how to keep long-distance friendships intact. You’ll have a lot on your plate during the adjustment period, so other people’s letters jamming your mailbox just might be a bit too much to handle.

If other suggestions didn’t work out for you and you continue to get envelopes that are not addressed to you, file an official complaint with the postmaster. This complaint can be filled through the postmaster, or you can fill out USPS Form 1500 and submit it directly. When you fill out this written complaint about unwanted packages and submit it, it will take about 30 to 45 days for the order to be issued.

What to Do if You Get Mail for the Previous Resident That Is Mostly Junk

If you have an issue with bulk or junk letters that keep on piling in your dropbox, contact Direct Marketing Association (DMA) so that they can put an end to it. Go on their official site and register. When you do, you can manage the bulk letters, and you can block them entirely. Furthermore, there is an option where you can set your preferences for packages you will be receiving. When you are done, click submit, and you are set for the next five years.

What to Do With Mail for the Previous Resident That Is Deceased

If you moved into a place whose former tenant is now deceased, the procedure for stopping unwanted envelopes would be a bit different. You can try writing on envelopes that the person is deceased, or you can try to contact companies directly. This might take a little bit more time out of your day, but if you personally notify magazines, charities, and subscription services, they will more likely than not immediately put an end to sending you materials. You can also register through DMA and cancel all subscriptions, just like you would do with junk mails. However, keep in mind that even though the person is deceased, opening their packages is still illegal.

Packages jamming mail-slot
There are a few ways you can prevent other people's envelopes from jamming your dropbox

Additional Tips on What to Do When You Get Mail for the Previous Resident

There are many reasons why people choose to relocate. Are you moving for love? Or maybe you finally figured out how to move out for the first time, and you are doing it. Whatever the reason for the move, keep in mind that some people will forget to update their information, and you might receive their letters after settling in the new home.

One of the most efficient ways to put an end to a pile of envelopes that are not yours is to contact former residents and politely remind them to update their information. When they do, the letters with their names will cease to arrive at your location.

You can also go one step further, and instead of writing a notice on a dropbox about former tenants, you can notify your postmaster that only envelopes with your name are welcomed to this location.

Stopping unwanted packages should not be a problem because there are plenty of ways you can do it, just don’t delay it for too long. Remember, as long as you are receiving somebody’s letters, that means they are not receiving them.

A few mailboxes
Put yourself in another person's shoes, and you will see how easy it is to forget to change the location

Prevent Problems for Others by Changing the Address When Moving Cross Country

Long before you settle in your new home, you will have to organize the whole relocation process. Start by hiring a cross country moving company to help you. While state to state movers provide you with long-distance moving services that include auto shipping and also storage, you’ll have enough time to deal with other stuff. Furthermore, long-distance movers know all the packing tips for moving, so you won’t have to figure out how to pack fragile items or other valuables. You can dedicate your free time to organizing your moving away party but, at the same time, gather all the documents and change the information about your location. This way, you’ll save somebody else the trouble of redirecting your letters when you finalize your interstate moving process.