Landlord opening ex-tenant's post

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    #31
    Originally posted by Obiter View Post
    There is not a lot of case law but the starting point is that it belongs to the recipient.
    But at the point in question, it isn't the property of the recipient, because there hasn't been any "receipt".
    The letter has arrived at the intended place and the person to whom it is addressed doesn't live there.

    Surely the more pertinent point is that at no time does it become the property of anyone else.
    That's a problem then - if someone throws the letter away or damages it, against whom are they trespassing?

    I'm only discussing the opening of someone else's post addressed and delivered to your property, by the way.
    Keeping the contents, holding a cheque to ransom etc are consequential and problematic on their own.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

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      #32
      I don't think letters belong to the recipient, which is such a sweeping statement and taken literally means anyone in receipt is the owner. Surely letters belong to the sender until received by the addressed person.

      Comment


        #33
        jpkeates cross post!

        Comment


          #34
          Originally posted by Obiter View Post
          Some people should learn more respect for private property.
          I think that is the key. When they don't respect my property I am grateful that their post seredipitiously falls open. Strangely enough this never seems to happen with decent tenants whose post is returned to sender or re-posted to their new address with a cheery smile.
          Unshackled by the chains of idle vanity, A modest manatee, that's me

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            #35
            Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
            I don't think letters belong to the recipient, which is such a sweeping statement and taken literally means anyone in receipt is the owner. Surely letters belong to the sender until received by the addressed person.
            "Recipient" can be a synonym for "addressee". It is established law that a letter belongs to the addressee as soon as it is posted. Whether the addressee receives it or not does not affect ownership. Note that when exchanging contracts by post and not using any protocol the contract is made when the last part is posted.

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              #36
              Yes am aware of the postal rule. Interesting what you say because the copyright of such a letter belongs to the writer. Conflicts as usual!

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                #37
                Originally posted by Obiter View Post
                It is sent to the National Returns Centre only if efforts to deliver it have failed, and even then if the NRC become aware of the correct address they will deliver it.
                That's no longer the case; nowadays if you readdress mail and stick it in the postbox marked 'gone away - please forward', then it will end up being returned to the sender. I discovered this after forwarding my son's credit card statement to him just after he moved out of the family home - a few days later he found the credit card was summarily blocked because the statement had been returned to them.

                I made some enquiries at the time and discovered that the forwarding of readdressed mail had only ever been a discretionary thing and rarely, if ever, happens now. The obvious intention is to encourage people to use their expensive official redirect service (£34 per quarter for one person).

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                  #38
                  As a matter of interest how long it it acceptable to be expected to return to sender? When I moved here I did it for 6 months then everything that came after that went into the bin. They did have a postal divert (I assume for 6 months as we started to get more post after that time) but some things slip through. My friend has recently had something delivered for the previous owners of her property and they moved 6 years ago.

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                    #39
                    Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                    It is established law that a letter belongs to the addressee as soon as it is posted.
                    Other than the postal rule, could you point me at a source to support this?

                    This isn't particularly relevant to this thread, it's been something that's fascinated since it was a discussion while I was studying law that was inconclusive.
                    That was a while ago, but it's bothered me off and on ever since.
                    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                    Comment


                      #40
                      Originally posted by pebblepebble View Post
                      My friend has recently had something delivered for the previous owners of her property and they moved 6 years ago.
                      I have been in my new house for 4 years now and still get post for the other owners...... they did leave with a lot of debt though !!! And funnily enough no forwarding address with anyone...... strange that. I have found that returning the post to the sender does little and it just keeps coming, i now simply bin it.

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                        #41
                        Originally posted by jpkeates View Post
                        Other than the postal rule, could you point me at a source to support this?
                        I was hoping no one would ask that! I have to go back a long time to when I learned it. I did do some Googling hoping to find some authority, but failed to do so.

                        When you think about it the point of posting is a logical moment to choose because it achieves certainty and is the moment when the sender loses control of the letter. If it depends on the addressee actually getting it into his possession he would have no right to claim it if it ends up in someone else's possession.

                        In any event, the question is not relevant to this thread because the letter either belongs to the sender or the addressee. If a letter comes into a third party's hands the third party has no rights over it.

                        If those arguing that there are circumstances in which it is legitimate to open a tenant's mail are consistent they will concede that a tenant has the same right to open any mail addressed to his landlord which lands on his doormat.

                        Comment


                          #42
                          Originally posted by Lawcruncher View Post
                          I was hoping no one would ask that! I have to go back a long time to when I learned it. I did do some Googling hoping to find some authority, but failed to do so.
                          Glad it's not just me.

                          I have a feeling it's never been decided, hence the need for the Postal Rule for contracts.
                          But I have no authority for that either.

                          When you think about it the point of posting is a logical moment to choose because it achieves certainty and is the moment when the sender loses control of the letter. If it depends on the addressee actually getting it into his possession he would have no right to claim it if it ends up in someone else's possession.
                          The problem in these circumstances - a letter to a previous inhabitant - is that most of the information on the envelope about the intended recipient is wrong - the name is probably right, but the address isn't any longer, and, unless the name is unusual, there is some at least some doubt about who the intended recipient is.

                          In any event, the question is not relevant to this thread because the letter either belongs to the sender or the addressee. If a letter comes into a third party's hands the third party has no rights over it.
                          While I can go along with that, it does beg the question, against whom is the person who opens the letter trespassing?

                          If those arguing that there are circumstances in which it is legitimate to open a tenant's mail are consistent they will concede that a tenant has the same right to open any mail addressed to his landlord which lands on his doormat.
                          Quite.

                          When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                          Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                          Comment


                            #43
                            Originally posted by hybrice View Post

                            The fact that you can justify it to yourself, or you personally don't know anyone who has been "done" for it, doesn't make it right or legal. And you're making a rather lofty argument to vindicate someone cracking open a letter not addressed to them and extorting the ex-tenant with the contents...
                            It's not illegal to open somebody else's post that has been delivered to your property.

                            And, no, I'm not arguing that's it's ok to extort the ex-tenant.

                            Comment


                              #44
                              Originally posted by Berlingogirl View Post
                              It's not illegal to open somebody else's post that has been delivered to your property.
                              I'm not trying to be argumentative for the sake of it, but it is definitely illegal (in England and Wales at least).

                              It's a trespass to goods (Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977)
                              If you throw the letters away, use the contents or damage the contents, it's probably conversion, which is a form of theft.

                              It's probably not automatically interference with the post (which is what people normally suggest it is) once the item has been delivered, but depending on why you are opening it, it could become an offence under that act.
                              For example, opening someone else's mail hoping to find out who they owe money to or where they might be contacted is probably a separate offence.

                              No one ever gets charged with it (in the same way no one gets done for speeding at 71 mph on a motorway).
                              But that doesn't mean it's lawful.
                              When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
                              Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).

                              Comment


                                #45
                                Originally posted by Jon66 View Post
                                Yes am aware of the postal rule. Interesting what you say because the copyright of such a letter belongs to the writer. Conflicts as usual!
                                There’s no conflict. Ownership of the letter is independent of ownership of the copyright of the letter. It’s no different to how I can own a book without owning the copyright of the book.

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