I moved into a rental home around 2 years ago immediately on the heels of a previous tenant. I experienced the usual "mail overlap" period of a few weeks, during which I was happy to pass letters & small packages either back to our carrier. These trickled away and I felt like things had settled.
Then, the first "big box" came.
It seems the previous tenant works in sales/marketing, and about once a month I've gotten large packages from various marketing firms. Most of these are shipped via non-USPS carriers (UPS & FedEx are most prevalent here, though I've occasionally seen DHL as well). Initially, I tried taking these to our property managers, but they informed me that they had no forwarding info for the previous tenants and that I should follow up with the delivery folks instead. Our landlord was similarly stumped regarding getting in touch with the former tenants. I spoke to a couple drivers and was told that they could take them, but that they would likely be redelivered. I tried this and had the packages redelivered multiple times by different drivers before giving up.
I called both UPS & FedEx and was told that I could hang onto the packages for the tenant or destroy them (I got this from both different companies twice - I didn't believe it the first time, either). FedEx offered me the option of adding a special rule that packages addressed to the previous tenant would not be delivered here, but there's a further complicating factor - we share almost the same name.
Whereas I'm "Kyle Robins" (pseudonym), the former tenant was "Kyle Robinson" (also pseudonym - but really, the similarity is kind of creepy). So when I suggested taking advantage of the "don't deliver to this person" feature, the rep was kind enough to warn me that there may be some missed mail due to name confusion. I do a significant portion of my business online and a few missed packages could translate to "can't pay my rent this month", so that's a pretty big concern for me. Ultimately, the same rep informed me that I could hold or destroy the packages.
I tried calling some of the companies listed on the package return addresses, but most of them are just printshops and couldn't give me any info about specific ordering companies I could call to try and rectify the situation. A few suggested I open the packages to get more info, but honestly opening a package not meant for me scares me more than just throwing the whole box out uninvestigated.
After over a year of having these poster-sized packages accumulating in a corner, I tossed the lot of them into the bin. Since then I've received others and done the same, but it worries me more every time I do so. I'm approaching the 2-year mark with no contact from the former tenant, and I'm curious: is there a proper way to handle this situation? Does the US Code mentioned here apply to non-USPS vendors as well? I feel like I've done everything I could be reasonably expected to so short of buying a shed to store "other-Kyle"'s boxes for him, but I don't want something important to slip by for both of our sakes!
As a clarifying point: These are all large, mostly unmarked boxes - nothing hand addressed or customized. There were some similar packages left in the attic when we moved in full of pamphlets/foldouts/posters, leading me to believe these are the same sorts of things. Anything obviously personal has come & gone via USPS - I suppose I would just hold an obviously personal package or Amazon delivery from another carrier indefinitely.