How to Find a Forwarding Address

One of the tricks of the tenant trade is to “forget” to leave a forwarding address to a landlord upon checking out of a property. Although sometimes an address might not yet be known, it is often done as a way to try to get a full security deposit back because an itemized invoice for repairs was not given in time. Another problem is not having an address for a tenant who leaves a property in such a poor condition that their security deposit comes nowhere near to covering the issue and you need to file a lawsuit against them.

If you are filing suit or just want to be proactive in sending a past tenant their itemized bill with their deposit remainder, you can find out their new address without even notifying them. Don't call the Postal Service because they cannot share this information with you. Do this instead.

Send Them a Letter To Their Old Address With Return Service

In order for your past tenants to keep getting their mail, they need to put in a mail forwarding request through the postal service. In the US, these yellow labels are added to the mail and then delivered as they normally would be. The exception to this, however, is if you put “Return Service Requested” above the address of the tenant you're attempting to contact. Instead of routing the letter to the tenant, it will be routed back to you with the new address on the label.

You can't just write in black or blue ink “Return Service Requested” above the person's address. If you do, there's a good chance the letter will be forwarded to the past tenant whom you're trying to get the forwarding address of. Use a printer to have it typed/printed on the envelope or check with your local office supplies store – they sometimes have these kinds of envelopes in stock.

Use Public Information Records To Get the Data

If it has been 30 days since a tenant moved, then there's a very good chance that their new address is going to be in the public record somewhere. Some people get around this by utilizing a PO Box or an alternative address, but for the most part people like to have mail delivered to their home so they don't have to go into town every day. How can you access these public records?

You can actually do it for free through websites like Spokeo. Not only will these public records scrapers get data about current locations, but you'll also get access to their social media pages that can contain the information you need as well. Reverse phone lookups can work if you know someone's number already, while the White Pages is always a pretty good source if there is a landline involved with a tenant.

Keep in mind that finding an address for a purpose other than business use as a landlord could be considered illegal. With that in mind, if you need the address so you can finalize your contract with a tenant, then take these steps today and you'll be able to mail... or serve a past tenant with the paperwork you need them to have.
Posted on May 23, 2014


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