How to Stop Getting Mail for Previous Residents When Moving Locally in Seattle

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According to USPS statistics and data, millions of people change their address yearly, so it’s not unusual that some misunderstanding happens, and information about changing address doesn’t travel fast enough to prevent this potentially problematic situation. Even if former tenants follow all the necessary steps, the system might get confused from time to time, and their packages pop out at your doormat. Luckily, there are few simple steps you should take to prevent this from happening. Keep reading to find out more.

Woman opening letters

Receiving letters from former tenants can get annoying

According to USPS statistics and data, millions of people change their address yearly, so it’s not unusual that some misunderstanding happens, and information about changing address doesn’t travel fast enough to prevent this potentially problematic situation. Even if former tenants follow all the necessary steps, the system might get confused from time to time, and their packages pop out at your doormat. Luckily, there are few simple steps you should take to prevent this from happening.

I Started Receiving Mail That’s Not Mine and Don’t Know What to Do With It

As we already mentioned, it’s not that unusual that you keep receiving packages from former tenants, especially a month or two after you moved to your new home, but if this keeps happening a year after relocation, it starts getting more and more unpleasant and annoying. You might even get so stressed that you start throwing away or destroying other people’s mail, which is considered illegal, so you can experience some even bigger problems later. So the questions are, how to avoid this kind of moving stress, what to do when you get mail for a previous resident and what to do with mail for a previous resident? All of these steps will be described in this informative article, so keep reading to find out more useful moving hacks.

What Do I Do if I Receive Someone Else’s Mail?

If this happens only once or twice, shortly after the relocation, it’s possible that letters are late and got there before USPS got the information about the address change. In case that this keeps happening over and over again, you should start taking some actions to prevent this from repeating. Your mailbox should be visibly marked with your name on it, and every envelope that you get with other people’s information on it should be returned with visible notes. If this doesn’t work, you can file a legal complaint, but keep in mind that, whatever you do, you shouldn’t throw away anything because that might get you into a troublesome situation.

Sticky notes

Stick a note saying “return to sender” or “changed address”

How Do I Stop Getting Old Tenants Mail?

You finally moved to one of the cool neighborhoods in Seattle, got familiar with Seattle renters’ rights, and took all the necessary steps to prepare for your relocation, including switching your addresses at least a month in advance. But what if former tenants weren’t that responsible and didn’t take these actions on time? Well, you’ll have to do that “dirty work” and prevent this from happening to save yourself from unpleasant surprises.

How Do I Stop Someone Else’s Mail From Coming to My House?

How to stop receiving mail from a previous resident? Your to-do list should consist of the following steps:

  • Cross out the barcode,
  • Leave a note on the mailbox,
  • Put sticky notes on envelopes,
  • Talk to the postman,
  • File a legal complaint,
  • Consult with professionals.

Each one of these steps will be further described in the following part of the text, so you’ll understand why each one is important and how to proceed with it appropriately.

Pile of letters

How to stop mail for previous residents? Cross out the barcode on received letters

How to Stop Getting Mail for Previous Residents – Step One: Cross Out the Barcode

One of the frequent methods that the postal service uses to classify letters is an automated system for scanning barcodes. If you cross this barcode out before returning letters that accidentally got to your place, the same system will recognize it as “undeliverable”, so they will be noted that the letter got into the wrong hands and they need to locate the addressed person.

One of the Best Ways to Avoid Misunderstandings Is to Clearly Label Your Mailbox

What to do if you get mail for a previous resident, you wonder, but have you changed the info on your mailbox? Sometimes, when people move in a hurry or they are too excited to explore the best parks in Seattle, they forget to make necessary changes when they get to their new home. One of those steps is changing the information on the mailing box. When this box is clearly labeled with your name or names of your family members, the postman might get the idea that the letter might get into the wrong hands because the names are different.

Mailbox outside the house

Clearly label your mailbox and put a note for carrier on it

Put a Sticky Note on the Wrongly Addressed Envelope

One of the smart ways to communicate with the USPS carriers and authorities is to put a sticky note on the wrongly addressed envelope that accidentally got to your place. Living in downtown Seattle is full of unexpected changes and surprises, so it’s natural that people change their addresses frequently, especially if they rent apartments around here.
Some people might think it’s great to simply write a message directly on the envelope instead of sticking a note on it. If you thought about this yourself, that’s quite understandable, but think again. The ink from your pen might get through the thin envelope and potentially damage the document that’s inside. If you plan your move on time, we guess you already know how to organize important documents, but think about the letter owner who is maybe waiting for an important bank document to arrive and you accidentally damage them. This won’t be pleasant for any of you, and it might even get you into trouble – so, the conclusion is – stick to the sticky notes.

Another Labelling Method Is to Put Sticky Notes on Your Mailbox

If you think that, for any reason, the postman didn’t see the message you left on the envelope, you can put another sticky note directly on your mailbox. For example, you can clearly write the name of the person whose letters get to your home and add a short note that the addressed person doesn’t live there anymore. The postman will definitely get this note and notify authorities about this situation.

Person sending a letter

The best thing you can do with another person’s letter is to send it back

Talk to Your Post Carrier and Describe Them the Situation

If you’re a friendly person who likes chatting and talking to everyone in person, talking to a carrier face to face is another great option to explain the current situation and problems you are experiencing since you started living at your new address. They can give you some useful tips and advice that will help you deal with the situation and find the best solutions.
If you feel like you need assistance with your local relocation, hiring reliable movers in Seattle might be ideal for you. Trained and experienced Seattle movers can give you interesting relocation tips and help you move efficiently. You can also consult Seattle real estate agents, explain to them your reasons to move, and let them help you find an ideal home. They can also give you more information about the address changing procedure and maybe give you information about former tenants, so you can settle any potential problems.

Professional movers

Consider hiring professionals for assistance

If Things Get Out of Control – File a Complaint With the Postmaster

If nothing from these actions didn’t bring you desired results, you could file an official complaint at the closest post office. Write a short letter, where you describe your situation and actions you previously took but didn’t lead to any solutions. You can contact them and schedule an appointment or simply leave this complaint at their office. If you don’t know what to do with mail from a former tenant, USPS office website might be helpful for finding potential solutions.

Post office sign

Feel free to contact authorities if this problem gets out of hand

Is It Illegal to Throw Away Someone Else’s Mail?

The answer is YES. It is illegal to take any actions with other people’s property, except returning them to the sender. Everything else could be interpreted as a federal offense. Maybe a former resident moved last minute, but they really need that particular letter, so throwing it away might cause them some serious problems.

Don’t Open Letters – That’s Also Illegal

Even opening the envelope and reading other people’s letters is considered a federal offense, so you should put your curiosity to sleep if you want to avoid potential problems. If you accidentally open it without even noticing it isn’t addressed to you, you can tape it back, put a note saying “wrong address” or “return to sender,” and avoid further issues.

Don’t Destroy or Throw Away Other People’s Letters

If you don’t know what to do with mail for previous residents, USPS stays clear about the fact that you should skip destroying and throwing away these documents under any circumstances. Sometimes this process can be annoying, especially if the wrong letters keep coming to your place. Try your best to stay calm and reduce your anxiety by visiting some of the finest breweries or exploring Seattle nightlife – destroying other people’s letters won’t lead you anywhere.

Don’t Fill Out a Change of Address Yourself – That’s Former Tenants Responsibility

One of the biggest mistakes you can make, even if you’re familiar with the new address of former tenants, is to file a change of address by yourself. This is problematic on many levels, and the main reason not to do it is because only the former tenants and authorities have the legal right to do this. USPS suggests that simply returning the envelope and writing a note saying “not at this address” should be enough for them to take the necessary actions and continue with this procedure without you getting involved any deeper. Here’s a short video reminder on how to correctly address letters.

Consider Hiring Professional Seattle Movers for a Stress-Free Relocation

If you want to relocate without potential inconveniences, you should consider hiring one of the best moving companies in Seattle. Our trustworthy moving company in Seattle can offer you a convenient residential moving service in case you don’t know how to pack a TV or have problems moving large items on your own. Commercial moving service is great if you want to relocate your business office around the local area, and additional packing services are also available if you want our cheap movers in Seattle to help you pack fragile items and protect them. Contact us if you have any other questions, and we’ll get back to you with the best possible solutions right away.