I own a house, and am currently thinking about buying the vacant lot next to mine to ensure that no one builds on it (beautiful view).

While talking with the seller they mentioned that the neighbor across the street (we are not on speaking terms, long story) is using the vacant lot's address as their own.

Will this cause a problem with the sale or future sales, and if I buy the property and want to receive mail there in the future, what actions do I need to take to reclaim my address?

I am located in Tennessee if that matters.

  • 1
    What do you mean by "using the address"?
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 0:56
  • 1
    @Mark The USPS address of the vacant property (as per the deed) is being used by the neighbor. Let's say per the deeds, the property's address is 123 Example st, and the neighbor's address is 128 Example St. The neighbor is using 123 Example st as their address, its on their mailbox, its what they give out to friends and family, Presumably its what is on their license and utilities, but as per the deed its the vacant property's address.
    – Reid
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 1:08
  • It sounds like this is a USPS problem, not a legal problem, and one rare enough that the USPS probably doesn't have a procedure for handling it.
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 1:22

3 Answers 3


what actions do I need to take to reclaim my address?

  1. Make the address really yours (buy the property). Use your current address for all correspondence.
  2. Setup mailbox with address prominently written on it.
  3. Approach the neighbor nicely explaining them the situation and ask to stop using the address.
  4. If 3 fails, hire a lawyer and instruct them to approach the neighbour.
  5. If 4 fails, instruct the lawyer to seek court injunction to stop the neighbor from using the address.
  6. Once successful, make sure to notify USPS.

I don't think that there is any need to "reclaim" the address.

That second address would no longer be needed or used for anything. This really just seems like an issue with USPS.

Also, addresses are (generally) not legal descriptions of properties. The legal description is your plat description in the deed, which can be seen online at the Assessor's Office. Your neighbor across the street, using the wrong address, doesn't really affect you since it isn't your address either.

If you are really concerned, contact your local USPS office and ask them about it.

  • 1
    Land parcels aren't automatically joined just because they have the same owner. This is particularly true in a place like Tennessee, where land is described using the "metes and bounds" system.
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 19:59
  • Do you have a specific reference that the two properties will automatically join? I'm not aware that just by purchasing two adjacent properties that they will legally become one, which is what you're suggesting would occur. Perhaps this is dependent on the specific local regulations, but would seem rather irregular to have that automatically occur, since it would involve re-writing the legal description of the property boundaries, etc.
    – Milwrdfan
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 20:07
  • 1
    @Milwrdfan I guess I was just dumb. For some reason I seem to have misremembered from property law class. I removed that.
    – Andrew
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 20:42

There may a law, 18 USC 1342 against doing that, because

Whoever, for the purpose of conducting, promoting, or carrying on by means of the Postal Service, any scheme or device mentioned in section 1341 of this title or any other unlawful business, uses or assumes, or requests to be addressed by, any fictitious, false, or assumed title, name, or address or name other than his own proper name, or takes or receives from any post office or authorized depository of mail matter, any letter, postal card, package, or other mail matter addressed to any such fictitious, false, or assumed title, name, or address, or name other than his own proper name, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

The neighbor may be able to defend himself against prosecution, arguing that he is just being whimsical.

  • 18 USC 1342 only applies to fraud carried out by mail. It doesn't apply to ordinary business.
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 22:35
  • Why do you assume the neighbor is carrying out ordinary business, using a false address?
    – user6726
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 23:04
  • 1
    Because the question doesn't specify otherwise. I find that, when answering questions, it's usually best to take them at face value.
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 23:27

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