Posted on

Property Management’s Role with Multi-Unit Mailboxes for Tenants

Apartment Mailboxes

If you’ve just purchased a multi-family or commercial property, or just put the finishing touches on one, you’ve seen what type of mailboxes the property uses, or even chosen them yourself. Most multi-family and commercial properties use some sort of multi-unit mailbox system for USPS (or private) mail delivery. Chances are good that your property has one of these mailbox types:

  • Multi-unit curbside mailboxes: These mailboxes stand near the road, and more than one mailbox shares the same one or two posts.
  • “Cluster” mailboxes, now commonly called “freestanding” or “pedestal” mailboxes: these mailboxes consist of customer compartments that lock and are contained within a single cabinet. Parcel lockers are often included. These mailboxes most often stand on slabs of concrete in outdoor settings and can utilize pedestals or the cabinet itself to stand.
  • Recessed or wall-mounted centralized mailboxes: these mailboxes are like their freestanding counterparts, but simply mount onto walls or recess into vertical surfaces. They’re often found in clubhouses, lobbies, kiosks, and central corridors.

As the property manager, you’re responsible for the upkeep of any mailboxes on your property, no matter which delivery type you receive. The good news is that the freestanding, wall-mounted, and recessed types likely won’t need much maintenance unless you have an outdated model, and the upkeep for curbside multi-unit mailboxes shouldn’t be very time-consuming or expensive. Here is a short list of your mailbox responsibilities:

  1. Ensure constant access to mail by tenants and delivery alike.
  2. Keep up on repairs.
  3. Manage tenant safety around your mailboxes.
  4. Upgrade old mailboxes if needed.
  5. Prevent package theft and address any other concerns.

Ensure constant access to mail: Mailboxes must never be obstructed from use by tenants or the USPS if you’re getting post office delivery directly to them. This means that you must ensure that cars don’t park in front of your mailboxes, equipment does not pile up in front of them, and that there is enough space in front of each mailbox for wheelchair access. Curbside multi-unit mailboxes must adhere to the same regulations as regular curbside boxes, and if using centralized mailboxes, follow the ADA guidelines on the subject.

Inspect any new mailboxes that you acquire to ensure that access requirements are met and contact your local post office if you have questions.

Mailboxes must also be easy to find by the USPS, so if you’re installing or renovating, ensure they are in a front-facing or central location on your property. Those receiving direct USPS delivery must never be behind a locked door.

Keep up on repairs: sometimes, things break, and no mailbox is completely immune. Curbside multi-unit mailboxes are the most likely to need repairs, as they stand near the road and are less sturdy than other types.

Repair a damaged mailbox immediately, because a badly damaged mailbox can’t receive mail delivery. Sometimes, a replacement is necessary. The good news is that vendors such as National Mailboxes carry replacement parts for virtually every type of mailbox, and replacement units if necessary. If replacing, stick with the same mailbox model and location, especially if you’re replacing outdated 4B mailboxes. Or see the section on upgrading mailboxes, if repairs are becoming too expensive and time-consuming.

Manage tenant safety around your mailboxes: Just as you must ensure that tenants and the USPS must have 24/7 access to mailboxes, you must also ensure that the mailbox area is always kept safe.

This not only means good lighting around your mailboxes and keeping the area visible but preventing injury such as slipping and falling in the winter, if your area is subject to icy conditions. Many communities clear snow and apply salt around their mailboxes and the associated parking spaces first, as slipping and falling is one of the most common injuries.

Keep mailbox areas clear of other debris and clean the area immediately in the event of accidents, bad weather, maintenance, or other events that can add tripping hazards. Replace any burned out lights, as darkness can exacerbate balance issues in some tenants.

Upgrade old mailboxes if needed: Sometimes, a community or commercial property has old or worn mailboxes, sometimes visibly so. Graffiti and worn paint can discourage prospective tenants from looking further into your property. Worn mailboxes can detract from curb appeal and value as well as increase the chance of mail theft, if you use curbside multi-unit mailboxes or old 4B mailboxes.

Mailboxes have come a long way, and now locking curbside mailboxes are available, as well as the new 4C line of freestanding, wall-mounted, and recessed mailboxes. These mailboxes are more attractive, more durable, and less prone to mail theft than older varieties, and can add to your property value as well as your tenant satisfaction. If you’re renovating your property, consider upgrading your mailboxes as part of that project, and your tenants will thank you.

Prevent package theft and address any other concerns: If you manage any multi-family property or business property, you certainly have multiple tenants receiving packages. Sometimes, these get left out in vulnerable places.

The good news is that parcel lockers are becoming more popular on centralized, 4C mailboxes, and they can also be purchased alone. Parcel lockers hold many sizes of packages safely until the tenant picks it up, and can even be added to an existing, centralized mailbox setup as needed. Parcel lockers can work for both USPS and private delivery (which is useful if you are juggling packages from other carriers and wish to place them in parcel lockers yourself.)

If tenants report lost mailbox keys or malfunctioning locks, be sure to replace both immediately, and provide new keys to your tenant. Also pay close attention to any other mail concerns, such as misplaced mail. This can mean that you need clearer numbers on your mailboxes.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at National Mailboxes, where we offer a variety of centralized tenant mailboxes to suit a variety of property needs.