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My family owns a condo, and I recently moved in. The previous tenant refuses to have his mail forwarded because, as he says, "I don't want the junk mail, and everything important is forwarded already." I am getting multiple catalogs and letters addressed to him and his wife still. Can I fill out a change of address form for this guy who just wants me to clean up his mess rather than unsubscribe himself?

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He will need to visit the USPS and have form 3575Z (internal COA) filled out for the individual. This will have the past tenants first class mail returned to sender. This will NOT stop their non-first class mail (presorted STD, marketing/junk, “or current resident”, EDDM/ECRWSS/ECRWSH, charity, political, non-profit). Non-first class mail is NOT returnable or able to be forwarded.

More than likely they will state - moved left no forwarding address.

ONLY the individual can submit an actual forwarding address!

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There is a USPS form to fill out, to change a person's address. This page shows you what the form looks like. You should notice the text which they transcribe onto the page:

NOTE: The person signing this form states that he or she is the person, executor, guardian, authorized officer, or agent of the person for whom mail would be forwarded under this order. Anyone submitting false or inaccurate information on this form is subject to punishment by fine or imprisonment or both under Sections 2, 1001, 1702 and 1708 of Title 18, United States Code.

So you cannot legally do anything, other than take annoying mail and notate it with an indication that they are not at this address ("Return to Sender" is the classical response), and stick it back in the mail.

It is also legal to go to the post office and complain (politely) to the staff, who deal with the situation in a way that doesn't put you at legal risk.

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  • That's not going to work. Virtually all junk mail is sent under "Standard Mail" or "Bulk Rate Mail" rates. This does NOT include "Return to Sender" services, so the sender will never find out. (unless the bulk mail piece includes the notation and barcode for "Return Service Requested" which is rare). If you throw it back in the mailbox, the Post Office will deliver it back to you (if it is machine routable) or throw it in the trash (if not). Jul 15 at 0:56
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As the answer by user6726 explains, you cannot legally fill out a forwarding order for someone else without that person's permission.

However, you can write "Please forward to: [Tenant's new address]" on the mail if you have the the new address at hand, and return it to the carrier or the post office with this note, if you choose. (Cross out your address with a single line so it is readable.) If you return it to the carrier several times, s/he may filter out mail addressed tom the former tenant. Or the tenant, finding mail forwarded in this way, may choose to unsubscribe from no longer wanted sources of mail.

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  • That won't work. See my comment to user6726. There is no way to signal to a bulk mail sender to stop sending, other than contacting the bulk mailer directly. (in most cases they are happy not to send out undesired mail, since it costs at least $1 per piece to produce and mail a piece.) Jul 15 at 1:00

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