What to Do with Mail from Previous Tenants – Guide for Landlords

What to Do with Mail from Previous Tenants – Guide for Landlords

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Being a landlord comes with a number of responsibilities, from property maintenance to document filing. An unexpected task landlords may be faced with is getting their previous tenant’s mail to stop being delivered to their rental unit after the tenancy has ended. 

If this is your current experience, don’t worry! B&R Property Management has the best tips to handle this unexpected duty and prevent it from happening again in the future. Read ahead to learn more about managing mail addressed to previous tenants.

How to Stop Receiving Mail Addressed to Former Renters

There are multiple ways landlords can prevent receiving mail addressed to previous tenants.

1. If you know the former renter’s new address, you can forward their mail to them. Simply write down their new address on the mail and leave it in the mailbox or give it back to the postal carrier. This might be somewhat time-consuming, especially at first, but it means you won’t be holding onto someone else’s mail for a long time.

2. If you don’t know the previous renter’s new address, clearly write “Return to sender,” “No longer at this address,” or “Moved” on the previous tenant’s mail and give it back to the postal carrier. 

The carrier will then return the mail to the originating office, where it will either be forwarded to the correct address or returned to sender. If the envelope has a barcode, make sure to cross it out and write “Not at this address” next to it. 

Person wearing a face mask and holding a handful of mail parcels

3. You can leave a message to the mail carrier on the mailbox of the affected address. Clearly state: “Former Tenant (name) is no longer a resident of this address, please only leave mail for Current Tenant (name).” 

The postal carrier should then make the required changes and stop delivering the previous renter’s mail. 

4. Inform the postal carrier of the situation and personally ask them not to deliver the former tenant’s mail anymore. You can also visit your local post office and talk to the Postmaster to get the mail delivery to cease. 

Common Questions about Receiving Previous Tenants’ Mail 

Do I Need to Know a Former Renter’s New Address?

Landlords should always ask for their renter’s forwarding address in case there are any issues to attend to. This will be useful when returning the security deposit, addressing any legal issues, or dealing with leftover mail.

Is It Okay to Check, Shred or Discard a Previous Renter’s Mail?

It’s considered illegal to open, discard, or destroy other people’s mail. As such, landlords should refrain from opening, throwing away, or otherwise tarnishing a former occupant’s mail, even if it appears to be junk mail. 

However, landlords are not responsible for holding onto their former residents’ mail indefinitely. If a previous renter refuses to fill out the change of address form and you find yourself storing their mail for an extended period of time, it is recommended you seek out legal advice to resolve the issue. You can also familiarize yourself with the necessary Nevada rental laws

Person looking through a pile of envelopes

Can I Complete a Change of Address Form on Behalf of a Former Renter?

While it may seem easier to complete your previous tenant’s Change of Address form yourself, it’s inadvisable to do so. Only a guardian, executor, or otherwise authorized agent would be legally permitted to fill out the tenant’s Change of Address from on their behalf. 

What Can I Do if a Tenant Passed Away and Their Mail Keeps Being Delivered?

If a tenant has passed away and their mail keeps being delivered, you could write “Deceased, return to sender” on the mail. You could also talk to your mail carrier or the Postmaster at your local post office. 

Otherwise, you could encode the deceased tenant’s name on the Direct Marketing Association website and expect results in about three months. Although it might be more time-consuming than the other options, you could also contact the companies directly to inform them that the addressee has passed away. 

How the USPS Can Help

Individuals may not be allowed to open, destroy or discard mail that’s not addressed to them, but they are allowed to send the letters back to the USPS, with messages such as  “Moved” or “Not at this address” clearly written on the mail. 

At that point, the USPS can reroute the mail appropriately—or, if the mail continues to be considered undeliverable, the USPS is legally permitted to get rid of the mail.

Two people in caps reviewing a paper on a clipboard while surrounded by boxes and parcels

Bottom Line

Although landlords may find themselves receiving their previous renters’ mail, it shouldn’t be cause for worry. By following the tips suggested above, landlords can ensure the issue gets taken care of by the appropriate postal services.

If you’re looking for a reliable partner to assist in taking care of your rental unit, you should consider working with B&R Property Management. Contact us today to hear more about our property management services! 

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