What is a Vacant Address?

Discover the definition and significance of vacant addresses. Learn how vacancy flags impact business and choose the right address solution for your needs.

Whether it’s just a summer vacation or a long-term absence, postal workers track whether you’re collecting mail. The USPS uses a national database, often updated by individual carriers, to record status changes for each address. Some addresses are flagged as vacant, meaning the building or unit is not currently occupied.

For Melissa’s solutions, including Personator US and Address Object, the result code AS16 indicates a vacancy, alerting clients to the lack of current occupancy at the address.

How is a vacancy reported?

Vacancies can be reported when:

  • An address appears vacant
  • Mail is not being removed from the mailbox
  • The recipient is residing at a new address
  • The address is considered new construction

In these cases, rural addresses will be flagged as vacant after 90 days. For city addresses, this depends on the carrier’s discretion.

How can I fix a vacancy flag?

The USPS will attempt to contact the homeowner or occupants when declaring an address as a vacancy. This usually entails a note on the door indicating the change in mail status as well as how to amend it.

If you have recently moved to an address marked as vacant, the USPS recommends updating your address in the NCOA (National Change-of-Address) database by filling out the COA (change-of-address) form, either online at the official USPS Change-of-Address website or at your local post office.

For those receiving mail at a residence erroneously marked as vacant, the notice left in the mailbox will provide instructions to fix the status change. This includes filling out the street address, the names of people receiving mail at the address, and the unit number (if applicable). This form can then be dropped off in the outgoing mailbox.

In apartments, the postal worker is usually notified of a new occupant in a vacant address and will make changes to the mail status.

The USPS also recommends contacting your local post office either in-person or via email to pick up any undelivered mail. After ten days, the mail is returned to the sender.

How often is this data updated?

The USPS DPV data that includes the vacancy information is updated every month.

What is the difference between a No-Stat flag and a Vacant flag?

The flags vacant and no-stat (“Not a Statistic”) are frequently confused because they both result in undelivered mail. However, a vacancy indicates that the address is able to receive mail but is not currently receiving mail. A no-stat is considered an invalid mailing address; it is not able to receive mail. A no-stat flag occurs for a number of reasons, including units that use a central mail drop location rather than separate mailboxes, or uninhabitable and demolished buildings.

Read more on No-Stat addresses here.

How do vacancies impact business?

Sending mail to a vacant address can be expensive. From packaging to postage costs, ensuring delivery is paramount to reducing unnecessary spending. By using an address verification tool, mailers can check their customers’ address against the most recently updated USPS databases.

How to choose a solution

Find the right address solution for your business by requesting a demonstration today.

At Melissa, we’ve leveraged 38 years of address verification expertise to give you the best possible products. Learn more from our collection of Address Experts articles.

Similar posts

Get notified on new data quality features and insights

Be the first to know about new data quality and product features.