Stopping Previous Resident Mail Deliveries

End Mail Deliveries to Previous Residents by:

  • “Return to Sender”

-Write “Return to Sender” on the outside of the envelope, place it back in your mailbox and put the flag up. Writing in red ink will help catch the attention of your mail carrier and help prevent future mix-ups.

  • “Note” your mailbox

-Place a sticky note on your mailbox stating you are the only tenant or (name of previous resident) is no longer at the address.

  • Cross out barcode

-Barcodes on the envelopes are used by the postal service sorting machines to sort mail to the proper addresses. Some mail can get tossed into the wrong bin without someone catching the mistake. Once the barcode has been crossed out the sorting machine will read it as “undeliverable” and a person must manually examine the mail.

  • Approach your mail carrier

-Wait for your carrier to arrive for your delivery and politely explain that the previous resident no longer resides at the address and that you wish to no longer receive their mail at your address. Keep in mind, your carrier delivers to an abundance of people and may have just made and an accidental mistake. Being calm and polite will get you a lot further than coming off as rude.

If Previous Resident is Deceased

  • “Deceased, Return to Sender”

-Write “Deceased, Return to Sender” on the outside of the envelope, place it back in your mailbox and lift the flag.

  • Contact companies directly

-Small companies will normally cease the distribution of mail intended for the previous resident if returned mail has a deceased note on the envelope, whereas large companies rely on the National Change of Address database for address updates.

  • Report Junk Mail

-Go online to the Direct Marketing Association website. From there, go to the “Deceased, Do Not Contact Registration” page and enter the deceased’s information. This may take up to three months for changes to take place.



Do NOT open the mail!
Do NOT throw away the mail!
Do NOT fill out change of address forms!

Doing any of the above is against the law and you could be held responsible for those residents not receiving their mail.


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