What can I do about the large amount of mail I'm getting for the previous tenant?

I moved 3 weeks ago, and I’m still getting first-class mail for the previous tenant almost every day.

This is a royal pain because while I suppose she’d be “getting what she deserves” for not leaving a forwarding address for the post office if I just threw it out, I’d feel like a jerk. I know this woman vaguely, and she recently had a baby, so I’m sure she’s had a lot on her mind, and there’s always the fear of running into her and getting into a “you threw out my mail?!” conversation? (There’s some pretty important looking stuff, like bills and letters from doctors’ offices.) But I don’t have the time or detective skills to find out where she’s now living and personally re-address and re-mail each piece of her mail I get, especially when it may continue indefinitely since she apparently didn’t set up forwarding.

Can you return mail to the post office and basically say “this person doesn’t live here; not my problem”? If the mail were returned to the senders, at least they’d know they don’t have her correct address anymore, then they could worry about tracking her down. Is there an official USPS-sanctioned stock phrase to be written on the envelope for doing this?

You can write “No longer at address” and stick it in the mailbox. Bundle em all together with an elastic band, write “No longer at this address” on a piece of paper, and stick it back in the box. The mailman will take it back.

Won’t likely stop more mail from coming though.

Print up a few sheets of labels on your computer that read “Moved- No Forwarding Address.” Put a label on every single piece of first-class mail the person gets. Eventually you will have sent something to every company looking for this person.

My family used TellMeI’mNotCrazy suggestion and the amount dropped to zero within several months. Seems like the easiest way, although I’m sure there are quite a few others.

It’s at least possible that the previous tenant did file a change of address form, and the word never got to the route carrier. And in a large apartment building, some carriers might deliver mail to the apt. number without paying much attention to the name. If you mark the mail “please forward” maybe the P.O. will at least try to find the right address. It’s probably not nice to mark her bills “moved, no forwarding address,” especially if it’s not her fault.

Boy, I feel terrible. I burn it, or recycle it. I figure, if I took the trouble to contact my frequent correspondents in one way or another, and if they* couldn’t be bothered, then neither can I.

*Mail for all different kinds of people shows up in my mailbox every day.

I’m not sure I understand how that would be “not nice” - the Post Office understands that to mean that the forwarding address is not known, not that the person doesn’t actually have a forwarding address. And if she were worried about what the senders would think upon seeing that on returned mail, well she is supposed to change her address with them, too. Forwarding is just supposed to be a temporary solution for forwarding the mail that gets sent berore you can notify anybody.

And if she had tried to forward her mail, you’d think she’d notice after 3 weeks that nothing was getting to her.

The correct thing to do, as others have said, is to return the mail to your local post office, preferably through the carrier on your route, with a notation that the individual(s) is/are no longer at your address. For the mail you have already accumulated, it would make sense to bundle it and make the notation on the top piece.

Once your carrier has been alerted to the change, SOP would be to hold the mail for 10 days to allow for a Change of Address Order to reach the local PO, and if none is received in that time to enter a Moved Left No Address (MLNA) Order and return all mail to the sender.

Also, please try to not be frustrated that you will still receive some First Class Mail for the former occupant for a while. Until some type of official order is entered into the computerized forwarding system, much of the letter-sized mail will be automatically sorted to your street address and will never be seen by a human being until the carrier is standing at your mailbox. The regular carrier will most likely remember that the former occupant is no longer there, but a substitute carrier will have no clue and deliver the mail as it is addressed. Just continue to return the mail with a MLNA notation, and eventually it will all be straightened out.

You could put your name inside your mailbox. We did, and mail for old tenants stopped right away. This, along with putting the incorrect mail with “not at this address” or something similar should help.

TellMeI’mNot Crazy’s suggestion is the right thing to do. Having said that, though, I’m still getting mail for various people who lived in my house before I did, and I’ve been here five years! I’ve marked the mail slot with “Please deliver mail ONLY for…” and a list, but still things keep coming. I’ve sent a list of names of people whose mail should not be delivered here to the postmaster, and that didn’t help. So I just continue to mark it “not at this address” and leave it for the carrier.

If you know the woman, why don’t you give her a call?

Excellent suggestion. Wish I had thought of it.

Not a factual answer, but a “think of the child…I mean of the former tenants” plea.
I once moved from Paris subburbs to a province town. I made sure I took the proper steps for my change of adress at the local post office (and paid for it). I nevertheless kept renting my former appartment for something like three months. During these three months, each time I came back to my former appartment (in a large appartment building), I kept finding a lot of mail in my mailbox, despite several complaints at the post office and despite having put a sticker on my mailbox stating that I had moved and made an adress change (I also put tape on the mailbox to block it, but it was regularily ripped off, probably by a neighbor thinking it didn’t look right).

I assume that after I definitely vacated the appartment, I kept receiving mail there.

So, I would ask people not to “burn or recycle” the mail, as a previous poster stated, but rather write the “no longer at adress” thing (or whatever is the proper procedure in your country) and give it back to mail delivery guy or to the post office. It’s not necessarily the fault of the former tenant.