How can I stop previous occupants from continuing to use my address?

Dear James,

I bought my house on 3rd Oct 2005. Since then we have discovered that the old owners left with loads of debts. We have had debt collectors and all sorts and I have to provide passport evidence of who we are. The old owners went abroad to Turkey I think, but now I am starting to get letters from foreign banks in a foreign language but they are addressed to the old people but at our address. Can I register my address somewhere to stop them from continuing to use my address (i.e. the house I bought off them)? I hope to hear from you.

Baljit, Aylesford

Dear Baljit,

I can see that the previous owners of your house have caused you something of a headache over the past few years. Most people who contact me for advice about debts belonging to previous occupants are primarily concerned that the debts might affect their own creditworthiness. But I suspect you’ve read past questions I’ve answered in this column that make it clear that this shouldn’t be a worry because credit reports can only be linked by joint financial activity. You are more concerned with stopping these people continuing to use your address from overseas. Unfortunately, I don’t know of anywhere you could usefully register such information, particularly as lenders based overseas are very unlikely to be able to carry out credit checks through UK credit reference agencies. All I can really suggest is that you return all of this post back to the senders clearly marked ‘moved away in 2005’. The foreign lenders or collection agencies should quickly realise they’ve been duped and should cease sending pointless correspondence to your address. I really hope they do. (November 2012)

James
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