Royal Mail’s Postcode Address File (PAF) covers over 30 million addresses and 1.8M UK postcodes. Thousands of postmen and women and local councils nationwide update this dataset daily.
From time to time, you may not be able to find an address on PAF. Listed below are the top reasons why this might happen.
Your missing address could be a new property. New properties may be recently constructed or created from recently divided buildings.
New builds currently under construction or renovation will not be on PAF. Instead, they will be on a separate dataset called Not Yet Built. These properties are added to PAF as soon as they are occupied. However, this must be reported by the occupants themselves or by the general public.
If you need to capture properties which may be completed but not yet added to PAF, you should subscribe to the Not Yet Built dataset to retrieve habitable properties not yet added to PAF. Please do get in touch to enable this on your API Key.
To add a recently constructed property to PAF, let Royal Mail know. Our address file is updated daily, so any changes made upstream in PAF will arrive in a matter of days.
Your missing address could be a subdivision of an existing address and not have its own letterbox.
Properties without their own delivery point, e.g. a letterbox or pigeonhole accessible to the public, are not found on PAF. These properties are listed on a separate dataset called Multiple Residence.
For many use cases, such as delivery parcels or mail, the address of the parent premise (found on PAF) and the name of the recipient is sufficient to identify a subdivided property. So a reasonable solution would be to rely on the address of the main property found on PAF.
If you do need to identify a subdivided property alongside addresses on PAF, you should enable querying on the Multiple Residence dataset. Please do get in touch to do so.
Addressing data pulled from sources may be prone to error. It could have been entered by a member of the public with no verification. It may have been deprecated, reorganised, or incorrectly interpolated.
Many online address and mapping solutions which rely on crawlers, cannot detect when an address is destroyed or updated. This is because they rely on machines to do the decision making. Royal Mail depends on thousands of individuals to keep PAF up-to-date.
The Postcode Address File is the most authoritative address dataset in the UK. If you are not able to find an address on PAF, it may be useful to go back and check where the address came from and how old the source is.
To report a missing address, visit Royal Mail's website and complete the form.
Businesses need to update Royal Mail if they have changed address. You can set up redirection to ensure your mail is delivered to the correct address. This can be done through Royal Mail's redirection service.