Not happy on return to sender
Question from Rob updated on 1st January 1970:
I'm asking about a problem that has no doubt faced many landlords. When tenants don't organise for their mail to be forwarded on. It can keep coming for years after they have left. I am considering putting a clause in my new tenancy agreements that states the bond won’t be issued until a tenant shows evidence of readdressing their mail. Would this be acceptable under the Residential Tenancies Act? If not then what are both a tenant's and landlord's obligations in this regard?
Our expert Juliet Robinson responded:
Your suggested clause is not likely to get any support from the Tenancy Tribunal. The guiding rules for a tenancy agreement are contained in the Residential Tenancies Act 1986. The bond is a surety against a tenant’s debts under the tenancy. You cannot use it as a bargaining tool to get the tenant to ensure that their mail follows them when they leave. Redirecting their mail after the tenancy probably cannot be regarded as relating to the tenancy itself. If you have selected the right tenants they will probably take care of mail redirection anyway. The Postal Services Act 1998 states (section 19) that anybody who receives mail that is addressed to somebody else must deliver it to the addressee or to the postal operator. In simple terms, you (or the next tenants) cannot hold onto a previous tenant’s mail. If you cannot forward it to the previous tenant you must send it back to the postal operator. A sheet of computer labels printed with “return to sender” promotes goodwill with the new tenant and makes it easy for them to label and return mail for a previous tenant.
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