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Centralized Mailboxes: Who Is Responsible For What?

For property owners, community managers, and those who otherwise manage multi-tenant properties, mailboxes are one of the many concerns that go into the deal. They’re easy to overlook, but they’re vital to tenant retention and gaining tenants in the first place.

Many property managers have a lot of questions when it comes to providing mail delivery for several (or more!) tenants. These can be residential or commercial tenants, but they share the need for safe, effective mail delivery in common.

When it is time to purchase and install the right mailboxes, it is normal to have a lot of questions. While choosing the right mailboxes is a topic covered in another article, this article explains who is responsible for what when it comes to installing and using multi-tenant mailboxes.

For the purposes of this blog, we’ll discuss centralized mail delivery, as this is the most common solution for multi-family properties and commercial complexes. We’ll also discuss USPS delivery.

What Does Centralized Delivery Do?

Centralized mail delivery is, as the name suggests, a mail system that allows the USPS to deliver all mail to a larger commercial property or residential community in one place. Usually, this means delivering mail to a series of horizontal customer units that are contained within one or several cabinets, and to any parcel lockers that are contained in or next to those cabinets.

Typically, these types of mailboxes are found in apartment complexes, multi-family communities, and larger commercial properties. These mailboxes, which can recess into surfaces, mount onto walls, or stand on their own as pedestal models, are durable and made to last a lifetime. The 4C models of these mailboxes are designed for USPS approval and delivery.

There are many other benefits to these types of mailboxes as well. They include easy maintenance, security, and convenience for tenants. Parcel lockers are often included as well for handling packages and reducing package theft.

When it comes to centralized mail delivery, there are of course responsibilities that are split between the property owner and the USPS.

What USPS is Responsible For

Of course, a USPS employee is responsible for delivering mail and packages directly to a centralized mail system, provided that it is an approved model, installed correctly, and has no obstructions or safety issues. The USPS will be able to access a master lock to open all cabinets at once. For parcel lockers, the USPS is responsible for providing a key to a resident when a package is delivered. This key is often placed in a customer’s regular compartment.

When it comes to installing a centralized, 4C setup, the USPS will need to come out and install the master lock. In some cases, the USPS will need to approve a setup before installation, especially if the property owner will be installing mailboxes in a new location on a property or is doing major renovations.

What Property Owners Are Responsible For:

When it comes to centralized mail setups, property owners and managers are responsible for a few things as well.

When it comes to installing new mailboxes, the property owner is responsible in the majority of cases, though this will depend on the local post office. Installing a centralized mailbox involves choosing an easy to access location and ensuring that the mailboxes meet USPS requirements. When shopping online for mailboxes, choosing mailboxes that meet these requirements is easy, as they are labeled as USPS approved.

Customer keys should come with new mailboxes as well, and the property manager or owner will need to distribute these keys to customers.

Installation is often simple as well, though freestanding and pedestal mailboxes will need a new or existing concrete slab for installation. Requirements for these slabs will vary. Recessed 4C units will need to be recessed into a hole in the wall or kiosk, while wall mount 4C mailboxes can simply mount to a wall.

Repairs and maintenance are the responsibility of property owners and managers as well. This means making any fixes to broken mailbox units and parcel lockers, or USPS delivery could stop. The area around such a setup must be kept clean as well, with no obstructions or safety hazards preventing the delivery of mail or the safe retrieval of mail. Ice, boxes, and vehicles should be cleared from the area. Salt should be applied to the area around mailboxes in the winter to avoid slip and falls.

The Good News

The good news as that besides installation, property owners should have an easy time maintaining 4C mailboxes and keeping the area safe. These mailboxes are very durable, and should last for many, many years. They are weather resistant, tamper resistant, and resistant to vandalism. This means that the chances of having to make any major repairs to these mailboxes is low.

Keeping the area around these mailboxes safe is also very simple. This means installing these boxes in a centralized area such as a clubhouse or kiosk to shield tenants and USPS employees from the weather. And, because these mailboxes are typically all in one location, keeping the area clear and safe is much easier than managing the areas around multiple curbside mailboxes.

Safety is also easier to handle with centralized delivery. Lighting can easily be added to one area versus many, and packages can go into a secure place while waiting for tenants to pick them up. This reduces mail theft as well.

Switching to centralized mail delivery saves time and money in the long run. Property managers will find it easier to maintain one centralized mail system rather than many curbside mailboxes, and they will find that the maintenance is far lower.

Get Started Today

There will always be responsibilities that come with every property, but choosing the right mailboxes can ease some of the pain and make tenants happy. The right centralized mailbox system can greatly reduce maintenance costs and time in the long run. To get started, contact us today.