After parting ways with a tenant, you are ready to put your rental back on the market. But one issue remains pending; the increasing piling of mail on the front door.

This is not an unusual predicament that landlords can find themselves in. Occasionally, it could be the case that a past tenant failed to give the US postal service a forwarding address, or businesses did not receive the change of address.

Not only is this an issue for you but also for your new tenant. It can be an annoying issue that sets the wrong idea for your long-term relationship.

To help you mitigate the problem, the team from NFI Property Management Solutions has put together the following article. Our advice has helped dozens of property owners in the past and we look forward to being able to help you as well.

Return to Sender

We often recommend to our clients to take the mail and write “Return to sender”on the envelope. You can also choose to add “Recipient Moved”. When the postal carrier comes to deliver the next batch of mail, they will make the connection and take back the mail to the post office.
mail sticking out of an apartment mailbox
Typically, the postal company will check whether the recipient has given them a forwarding address or a change of address.If this is not not the case, the postal company will return the mail to the sender.

Leave a Note

Even after going through all this, you tenants might find that they are still receiving mail for the previous tenant. A great way to handle this is to prepare a small note for them and leave it in the mailbox. If you are a long-distance landlord, make sure you have somebody who can leave the note for you.

It could be a short note that describes that the tenant has moved, and if you have one, provide a forwarding address. A postal carrier will receive the message and sort out the issues by passing on the information. If the issue persists, consider writing an email or going physically to see the Postmaster.

Common Questions

Can I Dispose of the Mail?

If the mail continues to show up at your doorstep, you might be tempted to dispose of it. This might include shredding, burning, or throwing it away. We strongly urge our clients not to dispose of the mail in any way.
crumpled paper in a waste paper bin
Depending on the case, you may find yourself facing close to five years in prison. In addition, opening mail is viewed as theft and the recipient can press charges.

Believe it or not, this rule also applies to a tenant’s junk mail such as magazines and advertisement material. Trying to discard or dispose of this mail is also considered illegal.

What Is the Importance of Having a Former Tenant’s Information?

There are many instances when trying to return a past tenant’s mail that could benefit from having their new address. As per the State’s laws, you should refund the former tenant’s security deposit, or ask for me if it doesn’t cover unpaid rent, within a specified number of days.

You will also need the former tenant’s information to follow up and send notice regarding damages, or requests. This information will also be needed should you have to take the former tenant to small claims court.

As the Landlord, Am I Qualified to Fill Out a “Change of Address” Form?

Filling out a change of address form for a past tenant is considered a federal crime and you could find yourself either paying a hefty fine or spending time in prison.

To be able to fill out this form, you need to either be the tenant’s guardian, executor, or their agent. If getting in touch with the previous tenant has proved to be a problem, you can get in touch with a guardian or parent from their information. They can fill out the form which you can later pass on to the postal service company.
a person sitting in a chair filling out a form

My Tenant Passed Away, What Are My Options?

If your previous tenant passed away, consider writing “Recipient Deceased: Please return to sender” on the mail.

We suggest you write a note for the postal carrier explaining the situation and also contacting the Postmaster. In order to improve landlord-tenant relationships, you want to avoid too much mail for another tenant cluttering their mailbox.

Will I Have to Indefinitely Receive My Former Tenant’s Mail?

This is often a question that is on a property owner’s mind. Since destroying mail is considered illegal while filling a change of address is deemed illegal as well, it can feel as if you are stuck receiving mail from previous tenants.

You are not bound to continue receiving or holding a tenant’s email in perpetuity. However, legal intervention may be required to deal with the previous tenant’s mail. If this is the case, get in touch with a property professional to help you.


Dealing with mail can be a stressful issue for any landlord. Using the techniques and tips we have outlined, you will be able to enjoy the full-term benefits that come with rental property ownership and leasing without the hassle of mail for previous tenants.

For a comprehensive property management solution, rely on the professional team at NFI Property Management Solutions. We are the leading service provider helping property owners in Pensacola and beyond.

Over the years, we have grown our brand to be recognized as a reliable, dependable and expert team in all matters of property. Our company is a member of the National Association of Residential Property Managers and the Pensacola Association of Realtors.

Get in touch with us today to receive a quote for our property management solutions!