Tip #37

Help Your Tenants Change Their Mailing Address

Written on January 28, 2014 by , updated on June 7, 2014

change-address-featured2Part of being an excellent landlord is helping your tenants transition to and from your rental property.

Years ago, I started encouraging my tenants to change their mailing address at move-in/move-out.

They always appreciate the gesture, and the transition tends to go more smoothly when tenants aren’t trying to track down their lost mail.

The Benefits

  1. It will show the new tenants that you think of the little things.
  2. Your tenant’s transition will be smoother, and therefore they will be happier.
  3. It will help prevent old, unwanted mail from being delivered to the new tenant.

Generally speaking, I try to keep my old and new tenants from interacting simply because I might have raised or lowered the rent between tenancies, and they have no business knowing what the other paid.

If the old tenant is “swinging by” the rental to pick up their old mail, it creates an opportunity for them to discuss private matters. Also, if the new tenant is receiving the old tenant’s mail, I would be concerned about privacy and possible identity theft.

Provide Instructions:

Helping your tenants change their address can be done a few different ways:

  1. Provide them with a “Change of Address” packet from a local USPS office, or
  2. Instruct your tenants to change their address online at https://moversguide.usps.com.

change-of-address

The Online Form Works Best

Personally, I provide the link to the official online USPS change of address form: https://moversguide.usps.com, rather than a paper packet.

Even though the online form costs a whopping $1.05, I just think most of my tenants would prefer an online form rather than a paper document that they have to send back to the post office.

To communicate this, I simply include a few sentences in my tenant’s welcome letter, or move-out instructions.

For New Tenants:

Welcome to your new home!  In order to ensure the arrival of all your mail, you’ll need to change your mailing address with the U.S. Postal Service. You can do so at https://moversguide.usps.com.  Your new address is: 123 Main St., Sunnydale, California 90000

For Departing Tenants:

REMINDER: You will need to change your address with the U.S. Postal Service.  Neither I nor the new tenants will hold-on to, or forward your mail.  It is your responsibility to forward all mail to your new address.  You can change your address online at https://moversguide.usps.com.

Similarly to providing bathroom essentials on move-in day, helping them change their address will show them that you care about their happiness at their new home.

It’s critically important for your new tenants to start his/her tenancy with a sense of being respected and cared for.

Provide Return Address Labels

If you really want to go the extra mile, provide your new tenants with personalized return address labels or stickers.

This takes some planning, since you’d probably have to order them from an online printer. I’ve used VistaPrintChecksUnlimited, and Costco Printing to create address labels, and all three companies are highly recommended.

What about Short-Term Rentals?

If a tenant is only going to be at a property for a few weeks or months, I will usually encourage them to rent a local P.O. Box.

It’s never a requirement, simply a recommendation.

PO Boxes

P.O. Boxes

Suggest They Use a P.O. Box

At first, the tenant usually doesn’t like the idea of paying for a P.O. Box, but once they hear the benefits, they usually warm up to the idea:

Benefits

  • It’s only Temporary – A Change of Address request is only temporary (12 months) and the Post Office has a hard time keeping up if you file multiple requests within a year.
  • It’s a Pain – Notifying everyone, mainly employers, all recurring bills, stock and retirement accounts, insurances, and friends/family, of their new address is a hassle.
  • Save Time Later – A P.O. Box will save them from having to change their address yet again in a few weeks/months.
  • They are Nomads – Most short-term tenants like to bounce around and will have multiple homes within a year – so a P.O. Box will give them some stability.
  • They are Inexpensiveusually around $80 a year.

In Summary

Helping your tenants transition to and from your rental properties is another great way to provide an excellent level of service, and it will make your tenants happier.

In this industry, it’s the little things that make a difference.

photo credit: ellis & higgs and joshuaseye via cc
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4 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Kathy

    What if you’ve had deadbeat tenants who refuse to change their address after leaving? What can you do to stop their mail from being left on your doorstep?

    Thanks, Kathy

  • Amy jo Abel

    Was it legal for landlord to stop my mail ?The next day after I had moved.

    • Ann

      Is there a responsibility to forward mail once the tenant moves out? It has been a messy leaving. I hope they will leave as they stated on the 31st. I was threatened that if any of their mail was lost, I would be held responsible. Can a former tenant do that?

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