Can I ask La Poste to give me a former tenant’s new address?

La Poste does have a popular post forwarding service ('réexpédition de courrier'), but a La Poste spokeswoman said it would not be able to give out the person’s details

16 September 2021

'La Poste cannot communicate the new address of a person who has moved, unless ordered to do so by a judge' says a La Poste spokeswoman Pic: sirtravelalot / Shutterstock

By Liv Rowland

Reader question: A tenant left without paying rent. Can I ask La Poste for a forwarding address if he left one?

Unfortunately, this is not a possible way of tracking down the former tenant but another option exists.

La Poste spokeswoman said: “In view of rules on business secrecy and correspondence secrecy, protected under criminal law, La Poste cannot communicate the new address of a person who has moved, unless ordered to do so by a judge.”

Another option is to hire a private detective. However, to go down this route you must first make sure that you have legally resumed full possession of your property.

This is not automatic if the tenant just left without formally cancelling their tenancy agreement.

In such a case, you should engage a huissier (legal professional) who will address a formal warning to the tenant at the address and then issue a certificate of abandonment (constat d’abandon). Find one online at Annuaire des Huissiers de Justice.

You must then apply to the local court to the juge des contentieux de la protection, for an order officially cancelling the rental contract (résiliation judiciaire du bail) and ruling on the matter of your rights to unpaid rent.

One detective firm, FoxDétectives from Melun, Seine-et-Marne, said that once these legal formalities are in order, you can opt to engage such a firm to find the new address, and investigate the person’s ability to pay and assets that could be potentially seized to repay you.

The firm says the detectives will then give you paperwork you can present to a court to allow a huissier to issue a demand to pay and/or seize valuables to recover the debt.

It is also possible to obtain reimbursement of costs spent tracking the former tenant down, it says.

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