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This SE is the most applicable I think because it is in the context of business (renting) and personal finance (permanent address) logistics, even if mainly about mail.

A friend bought a property in the U.S. and eventually moved to a different nearby city for work but kept the house. They don't have any other family or housing in this part of the world, so they prefer to keep the house. Also for that reason, they're thinking to keep their house's address as their permanent address for this phase of their life, using it for key documents & services. They don't have an alternative permanent address, only temporary (likely <3yr, maybe even <1yr) rental address. Is it okay to use a property one is renting as one's permanent address, if it is the only property one owns?


On the one hand, the address they own is indeed their most permanent address. They might move back there eventually, or at least expect to own it a few more years before selling. Even if not their residence, it is still their property they are responsible for and maintain control over to some extent.

On the other hand, they don't live there and someone else does. The renter will be burdened with their landlord's mail, and while that's not a major burden it still presents potential issues: the renter could get annoyed with it, and it could lead to key and confidential documents leaving this friend's control.

For mail pickup, this friend arranges for mail pickups from the tenant, by either themselves or other friends who commute between this friend's current & permanent address locations. This is a little combersome but has worked for them so far.

The only alternative I've thought of is to open a PO box and maintain that until they have a more permanent residence. That's a $100-200/yr cost which isn't too bad, though this friend is trying to keep a tight budget. The rental covers mortgage and (hopefully) maintenance, without much expected profit. A PO box also might not be a valid suggestion, as some services may require a residential address and won't accept a PO box.

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The issue here is not where your friend receives mail: they can receive it at their barbershop if the barber agrees. They can make collecting the mail for pickup condition of the lease. It's what they do with this address. For such a long stay elsewhere, it's unlikely this is their correct address for voting or tax purposes. And the criteria for these issues are not necessarily the same, nor need they be the same for each type of tax; for example, they certainly shouldn't claim the "Homestead Exemption" allowed for Californians' principal residence. There are also possible issues with homeowner's insurance, mortgage requirements (they may be required to live at the home as a condition of the mortgage), etc.

  • If there are no false claims of residency, all services requiring current residency get accurate info, and the bank and insurance and all approve of it being rented, then is it fine to list it as a permanent address in other cases? For example, some services require current residence and a separate field for permanent residence - in that case, I'm wondering if a rental can be used for the latter. Anyway it probably is case by case, which I think is what you're saying! – cr0 Jun 12 at 0:36
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Permanent mailing address is the location they are living. Even if it is <1 year that is where they reside so meets the definition of permanent mailing address. If they are moving frequently it could be tempting to use their owned property rather than their place of residence for official business but this can create issues for using services that are for residents only (eg getting a library card).

They are best off using the address where they reside as their mailing address. If they move frequently they should keep track of which important entities (banks, gov't agencies, insurance, etc) need to have an address update.

  • Is there a rule of thumb on how long this should be to be permanant. You say even if it is <1 year. I mean I don't change my permanant address when staying in a hotel for a few weeks. When does it become permanant? – Vality Jun 11 at 22:01
  • Good question @Vality. Even for longer-term like a year or years bouncing around rentals, there might be cases permanent address =/= current residence I think. For example, my parents allowed me to have some mail continue going to their house as my "permanent address" while I moved almost every year or every few years in rentals during school. – cr0 Jun 12 at 0:39
  • No, a permanent MAILING address is not where you happen to be living at any particular time. You may be confusing it with a legal residence, but even then, the lines aren't clear. I've lived in Europe, and various places in the US, while maintaining my legal residence in one place, where I own a house, have driver's license, voter registration, and so on. IANAL, but in my understanding it's more about intent than anything, and my intent was always to eventually return to this place. – jamesqf Jun 12 at 1:39

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