QUESTION: We invariably receive budget packages and other disclosure information back in the mail due to member address changes. Are we obligated to resend this information to the new addresses, or are they considered "delivered" per the mailbox rule?
ANSWER: Under the “mailbox rule,” when a letter “properly directed is proved to have been either put into the post-office or delivered to the postman, it is presumed . . . that it reached its destination at the regular time, and was received by the person to whom it was addressed.” (Rosenthal v. Walker, 111 U.S. 185, 193 (1884); Civ. Code § 4050(b).)
Negligence. In your case, the presumption is lost because you know the annual budget report was not received--it was returned to you. The reason for the failed mailing was the owner's negligence in not keeping you informed of his/her address change. Members who fail to keep their contact information updated still have a right to the budget report but you can charge them for the additional cost of re-mailing it.
Recommendation: If you have the budget package in digital form and the owner authorizes it, you can email it. That avoids any disputes over extra mailing costs.
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