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Am I Responsible For My Apartment Mailboxes and Mail?

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You and the post office share some responsibilities when it comes to resident mailboxes and mail. Other responsibilities belong to the post office alone. However, there are some things you must remember in order to follow the law and ensure resident safety.

Who gets the keys? If the USPS is delivering to the mailboxes installed at your apartment complex, they will be responsible for the locks and keys, and will install the locks on your mailboxes. The post office will retain a master key for each unit in order to deliver mail and take outgoing mail. Generally, this will be the case in an apartment complex, as private delivery typically happens in dormitories and on military bases.

What if there’s an issue with a mailbox such as damage or theft? If there is an issue with the mailboxes, such as damage to mail or mailboxes, tampering, or theft, you will need to:

  • Contact the Postmaster.
  • Another option is to call 1-877-876-2455 to report such issues in a timely manner.

If locks are broken, your mail carrier can’t legally deliver to those compartments or units. You’ll need to get them fixed right away.

What if I must handle a resident’s mail? Handling tenant mail, if you must, is another important consideration. Perhaps a resident has moved away and the new tenant hands you It is against the law to prevent mail from reaching a resident or to impede the delivery of the mail in any way. It is also illegal to throw away any mail you receive that is not yours even if the tenant no longer lives in your apartment or complex. In this case, you have two options:

  • Write “Return to Sender, Addressee No Longer Lives At Address” and put it in the outgoing mailbox, or
  • Contact the USPS and let them know to redirect the mail to the resident’s current address.

What can I do to ensure access to mailboxes in all weather? In the case of outdoor cluster mailboxes, which are becoming increasingly popular, winter weather can be a concern. In some cases you may need to make sure that the area is cleared of snow and ice so that residents can access their compartments. If you have an outdoor kiosk with horizontal mailboxes, this also applies. Clearing and salting the area will not only make the postal employee’s job easier, but will help prevent resident injuries as well.