I am sure if you have ever moved then you have randomly received mail from the previous owner or tenant. Now as landlord we want to help you handle mail intended for a tenant, past or present so as to avoid unwanted legal trouble. There are severe legal implications for mishandling a tenant’s mail. But sometimes, mail from former or even current tenants just keeps coming, but that doesn’t mean that you have to deal with it. Here are some tools to handle these problems so you aren’t stuck with accusations of mail tampering. Property owners must take appropriate steps to legally handle situations of excessive or unwanted mail.
When a tenant moves out or leaves the property for long periods of time, what to do with their mail can quickly become a time-consuming hassle. Some tenants move out without providing a forwarding address, or may go on vacation or travel for long periods of time without requesting an official hold from the local post office. When mail for an absent or former tenant is piling up, property owners must take action so as to not have a small issue turn into a large problem and lead to mail tampering.
The United States government takes the matter of mail delivery very seriously. A tenant’s mail is their personal property and needs to be handled with the utmost care. Under , taking or moving mail from the intended delivery location is considered a felony offense. So is preventing delivery by withholding a tenant’s mail, as well as opening, throwing away, or destroying mail not addressed to you. Any sort of mail tampering could result in criminal charges, fines, and even jail time.
So as a property owner what is the best way to curb the tide of unwanted mail and prevent future tenants from mail tampering with the former tenant’s private property? One option is for the tenant to handle it. For example, if a tenant has moved out, a property owner could instruct a current tenant to write “” on the envelope and place it back in the mailbox for collection. The other option as the property owners is to write a note to the mail carrier, informing them that the addressee is no longer at the address and request that mail delivery to them stop.
However, if the tenant is currently under a lease but simply absent from the property for a vacation or other reason, handling mail delivery can become a bit more difficult. The best way to handle mail delivery during an extended absence is for the addressee to contact their local post office themselves and . If a tenant has failed to do so, the mail will continue to pile up, creating a potential legal nightmare for property owners. The problem occurs when the property manager agrees to hold the mail themselves for the tenants. However if that said mail gets, lost, damaged, or piles up then the tenant can accuse you of mail tampering. In such circumstances, the best thing for a property owner to do is to contact the Postmaster of the local US Post Office and request that mail delivery be temporarily suspended. If they are unable to deliver mail, then usually a post office will hold the person’s mail at the office for the tenant until they are able to come and pick it up. This way all the legal issues are put onto the post office.
Dealing with a hassle like mail delivery is not complicated, but it takes some simple steps. For property investors, time is your most valuable asset. Protect it by hiring Real Property Management to assist with tenant mail delivery problems as well of a plethora of other tenant relations. We can handle all of your property needs, which includes everything from the basic day-to-day tasks to the more unusual situations like mail legal issues or evictions. With Real Property Management on the job, you can be confident that your tenants, and your property, are being professionally and legally cared for.
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