How to Stop Getting Mail for Previous Residents?

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After your relocation is over, you would think that all the trouble is behind you. But, sometimes, this isn’t the case. You’ve noticed a couple of letters that aren’t addressed to you on your doorstep, and now you’re wondering how to stop getting mail for previous residents? Don’t stress over this, it’s a common issue. We’ll show you how to handle it most efficiently and quickly.

So, what to do if you get mail for a previous resident? This could seem like a strange thing that you won’t have a clue how to deal with. Luckily for you, it’s not a complicated issue, and in most cases, it can be solved quickly. If you follow our easy tips, you’ll stop receiving mail from the previous resident in no time.

How to Stop Getting Mail for Previous Residents? There Are a Couple of Things You Can Do to Deal With Letters Not Addressed to You

How do I stop mail from coming to my house? Many Americans search this question after their move with the best movers in Chicago. You may know how to move efficiently, but what to do with problems after the move? Although this is just an inconvenience for you, we realize that it can get quite annoying, especially if it continues to happen for some time. But, what’s important to keep in mind is that USPS has many letters and packages to deliver each day. If you were wondering, the number is around 400 million. Can you imagine that many letters? We must cut them a slack – they are bound to make a few mistakes now and then. So, the best thing you can do when you face this problem for the first time is not to get upset – you’ve been through plenty of relocation stress, and you shouldn’t let this stress you out even more.

What Do I Do With Previous Residents’ Mail?

What to do when you get mail for a previous resident? First, you must realize what not to do so someone doesn’t lose valuable information that may be written in that letter. Remember, the letter you’re holding can contain essential financial or other personal info that the former resident doesn’t want to lose. If it’s not your intention to hurt somebody, we suggest you continue reading to find out the dos and don’ts after finding someone’s envelopes on your door in one of the best Chicago neighborhoods.

A postman holding a pile of envelopes
We know how to deal with a letter delivered by mistake – keep reading to find out

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

Before figuring out how to prevent strangers’ packages from arriving at your new home in one of the best neighborhoods in Chicago for families, you should know what to do with mail for previous resident USPS has sent you by mistake once you see it on your doorstep. The essential thing to keep in mind is that you should never throw it away and pretend it never existed. This is considered a federal offense by US law, and you must agree that throwing a letter in the garbage is quite the strange way to commit a crime, right? That’s precisely the reason why you should take time to research this topic, even if you’re packing to move in a hurry to a new residence.

We Assume You Don’t Want to Commit a Federal Crime – Here’s How to Avoid Trouble

Throwing away a letter sent to another person isn’t the only crime you can commit, not knowing that it’s a crime. So, what else you shouldn’t do when you see letters on your new doorstep in some of the safest neighborhoods in Chicago?

  • Losing letters or packages that you have received,
  • Destroying envelopes that are not yours,
  • Stealing items from packages that arrived by mistake,
  • Opening letters addressed to another citizen.

All of the above are actual crimes in the United States, but even if they weren’t – you wouldn’t be a very kind person if you destroyed someone’s letters, right? A former resident is still out there in the best Chicago suburbs, and it would be rude to leave them without their intended packages and letters. Just imagine if someone did that to you.

You Also Can’t File an Address Change for Someone Else

If you know where the former tenant now lives, you may be tempted to simply file for a change of home number instead of them since they’ve obviously forgotten about it altogether. It sounds like an intelligent solution, but don’t do it – it’s illegal. Even if you’ve run out of things to do after moving, we wouldn’t suggest you take a trip to the post office. Nothing good will come out of it!

Girl's legs, envelope on them, phone, headphones, and boxes on her right
Never open someone’s packages or letters! Besides being rude, it’s also a crime

#1 Leave a Note for USPS Workers on the Envelope

Once you notice letters another person is expecting, you shouldn’t ignore them, as that would solve nothing – ignoring a problem is never a solution. The first and most obvious step you can take is grabbing a pen and writing on the envelope (no, that’s not illegal, no worries!). Simply write one of the following: moved, return to sender, not at this address, wrong address, no longer lives here, etc. After that, place the letters in question in the outgoing mailbox – that will inform the post office that they have the wrong home number. Hopefully, this will be enough.

What to Do If You’ve Accidentally Opened Letters or Packages That Aren’t Meant for You?

We’ve already mentioned that opening something that belongs to someone else is a federal offense – it counts as theft. But don’t worry if the exhaustion from packing furniture and other tricky tasks that involve relocating large items made you a bit confused, and you accidentally opened something you shouldn’t. Our justice system is strange, but not that strange to prosecute you for this honest mistake. So, what shall you do? Tape the envelope again, and write one of the statements we mentioned above that will inform the postal service they made a mistake, and of course, take it to the outgoing mailbox. No big deal.

Woman holding an opened envelope, other envelopes on the table in front of her
Oops! Did you open someone’s envelopes? Worry not. You can quickly fix this mistake

#2 If This Doesn’t Work, the Next Step Is Putting Up a Notice on Your Mailbox

Okay, you’ve listened to our advice, but it’s been a few days and letters started coming again. What to do now? Obviously, your message on the envelope went unnoticed, so you’ll have to try something else. We assume you have some sticky notes somewhere in the house. You likely used them for labeling boxes where you packed fragile items. All you need to do is write a message on the sticky note and put it on the mailbox. Of course, the message should state the same as the one on the envelope – the former tenant can no longer be found here.

Leave a Note on Your Front Door

To ensure the message will be received, you can write another notice and put the sticky note on your front door. Maybe the postal carrier didn’t even check the name on the envelope, and even though they saw your message on the postbox, they proceeded to leave the envelope. If you want to minimize the chance of a mistake happening again, it would be good to tape another note to the door. Keep in mind that sticky notes can fall off the door, so you better tape them with packing tape you have bought for securing boxes you used for packing books.

Blue, pink, and orange sticky notes taped to a blue wall
Sticky notes could solve your problem, be sure to use them

#3 Cross Out the Barcode – That’s Likely the Source of Trouble

Of course, sometimes your messages on the mailbox and door can be both overlooked by mistake. It happens, right? Nobody’s perfect, and you can’t expect your postal carrier to be. They missed the note, and so did the post office, even after you returned them dozens of envelopes. In this case, letters will continue arriving because of the barcode. How does that work? The US postal service has an automated system that scans the barcode on the envelopes. That code corresponds to your home number because the former tenant hasn’t gotten around to changing it. While you wait for them to remember they should do this, crossing out the barcode is your solution.

Check the Back of the Envelope – There Could Be Another Code There

We hope you remember that one of the best relocating hacks is being careful and thorough. It’s the same here, as well. You can cross out one barcode but overlook the one on the other side of the package, and the unwanted stuff will keep arriving at your postbox. So, always be at the top of your game, no matter if it’s important stuff like this or something (sort of) irrelevant such as packing candles. Check both sides of the envelope, and once you’re sure there are no missed barcodes, send it back.

Blue postbox, and a row of other postboxes behind it
Do you keep receiving unwanted packages or letters? The barcode is the reason

#4 You Can Always File a Complaint With the Postal Carrier

If nothing hasn’t worked so far, the last thing you can do is file a complaint with the postal service. In most cases, the tips mentioned above will be enough, but sometimes you must jump to the local post office. For those relocating with pets, it’s another chance to take a walk and get your pet accustomed to the neighborhood you’ve moved to, so it won’t be a complete waste of time, right?

Talking to US Postal Service Worker in Person Is a Sure Way to Solve This Issue

Talking with the postal carrier in person and demanding the mistake to be fixed will surely be more efficient than a simple sticky note, and we have no doubt they will do everything they can to solve the problem as soon as they are aware of it. After this, you can be sure that you’ve done everything you can and that you won’t be getting anything that’s not yours anymore. Hopefully, the former tenant of your home will soon remember to update their home number!

A USPS office, pictured at night
Talking with your postal carrier is a sure way to fix this mistake

Make Sure Your Letters Do Not Continue to Arrive at Your Former Address After You Move

The change of a home number is one of the most common things you forget to do when you move. One of the essentials on your to-do list should be preventing this issue. There’s no reason to do it months ahead of the move – you should do it about two weeks before the relocation day, or if it seems easier to remember this task – consider doing it when you start to organize important documents at home.

The Best Method to Avoid This Mistake

If you want to spare the new resident of your old home wondering what to do with mail from previous tenant USPS keeps sending them, you should make sure that you change your address with the post office. Great news – this won’t affect your relocation expenses checklist, and it is straightforward. All you need to do is fill an online form. Check the video below if you’re having trouble figuring out how to change your address when you move.

You’ve Learned How to Stop Mail for Previous Residents, But Your Move Isn’t Fully Planned Yet – You Need Professional Movers in Chicago

With our Chicago movers, you will be 100% safe from relocation scams – that’s not how we do business. Residential moving will be a pleasant experience for you if you decide to hire our company for moving services in Chicago. We can proudly say that we have quite the affordable prices, the best among all Chicago moving companies. Our local movers in Chicago can provide you with any type of service you require, from simple labor-only assistance to relocating large companies thanks to our commercial moving service. All you need to do is make sure you get rid of items movers won’t move, and the rest is up to us. Let our movers and packers in Chicago take care of everything, so you can relax and enjoy planning your going-away party. Why hesitate to reach out? Contact us today, and you’ll have the best move to a new home ever!