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How to Address Mail Concerns While Managing Your Community

A lot of work goes into managing a community and keeping residents happy. It doesn’t matter if your community is a HOA, apartment complex, or other multi-family property. Many resident concerns are the same.

Did you know that safety and maintenance are top concerns for tenants? This applies not only to new tenants, but existing ones. The handling of mail is a big part of maintenance and safety—after all, packages can be stolen and mailboxes can fall out of repair, creating a safety hazard.

If your residents or tenants have specific concerns regarding the mailboxes in your community, no matter which type you have, here’s how to address them.

The Mailboxes are Broken or Worn. No tenant wants a key to break inside of their mailbox lock, if they have one, or to have a mailbox door or lock that doesn’t work properly. Perhaps the complaint isn’t about broken parts, but simply mailboxes with wearing paint, dents, and other damage that can make the community look unsightly.

As a property owner or manager, you’ll be responsible for mailbox upkeep, or the USPS may not be able to deliver to your community. Such a situation can lead to increased tenant turnover, which is far more expensive than making repairs.

If one small part of a mailbox is damaged, such as a single hinge or lock, replacement parts are available and are fairly inexpensive. These parts range from flags, posts, and address numbers to cabinets for centralized mailboxes. Repairs should not take very long, especially if you’re dealing with curbside mailboxes.

What if a mailbox gets severely damaged? If the mailbox is damaged beyond repair, replacement will be necessary. Typically, curbside mailboxes see the most damage, being near the road, so if you find yourself constantly replacing these mailboxes (such as in a condo community), consider a different system, such as a centralized mail station. Centralized mailboxes are of very sturdy construction and very secure, with multiple customer compartments and parcel lockers contained within. You’ll want to find one that meets USPS requirements for mail delivery. These will be labeled “USPS Approved.”

And the good news is that centralized mailboxes will need far less maintenance than curbside models.

If simple wear is making your mailboxes unsightly, replacing them can help increase property value and attract new tenants.

Your Mailboxes Suffered Vandalism. No tenant wants the mailbox they paid for to suffer from vandals, so you should take such tenant reports very seriously. It will still be your responsibility to make repairs, but you should also report the vandalism to the postmaster general, as mailbox vandalism is a federal crime. Once you do this, notify your tenants so that they know you are attempting to fix the situation. A notice may also deter vandals from trying again.

If vandalism continues, consider adding more lighting to the mail station, moving your mail station to a new, more visible area, or investing in more secure and durable mailboxes. Curbside and wall-mounted mailboxes are the most vulnerable, but locking models are available, and upgrading to a centralized mail system will also help. Installing cameras will also help your tenants feel more at ease.

Mailboxes are Hard to Reach. No mail station or mailbox should be in a remote location, so if residents say they have a hard time checking the mail, pay attention. A good rule of thumb is that no resident should walk more than a block to get their mail, and this is especially true for those with mobility issues.

It may not be possible to put a mailbox within everyone’s easy reach, especially when installing a centralized system. Multiple mail stations may solve the issue. Placing mailboxes in a “drive-up” station may also help those who can’t walk far. This can be at a community office, a central location, or at the front of a community.

Also ensure that no obstructions block your mailboxes, and you have three feet of clearance in front of each one so that wheelchair users can have unrestricted access. If you have centralized mailboxes, ensure at least one customer compartment is forty-eight inches above the ground or floor, or lower, and that all mailboxes are at least twenty-eight inches from the ground.

If ice or uneven ground keeps residents from safely accessing mailboxes, ensure these areas are treated and cleared at all times. This is of course easiest with centralized mailboxes, which require clearing only that area versus ensuring constant access to multiple curbside mailboxes.

Packages Get Stolen. Take any stolen mail reports seriously as well. Communities that require the USPS to leave packages in front of doors or otherwise in plain sight are targets for “porch pirates.” Packages from other carriers also get stolen.

If residents report package theft, you can arrange to have packages delivered to a lobby or office for pickup, but this will require residents to travel there during business hours to retrieve their packages. An employee can also receive packages and then deliver them directly, but this may take too much time and effort.

Parcel lockers offer a good way to store packages for residents. They can be purchased alone, added to a centralized mail system, and can be used for direct USPS or private delivery. During private delivery, an employee of the property receives packages, places them in parcel lockers, and distributes keys to residents, so that residents can access the locker at their own convenience. These lockers are large enough to fit all but the biggest packages.

If regular mail is getting stolen, consider locking mailboxes as quickly as you can, as regular mail can contain sensitive information and lead to identity theft.

We’re Here to Help with Your Community’s Mail Needs. At National Mailboxes, we’re here to help you find the right mail solution for your community. If you have questions about how to solve any mail issues brought up by your tenants, whether they be commercial or residential, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.