Do Landlords Have to Provide Mail Service?

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Some state and local laws require landlords to provide a working mailbox as part of an apartment.  Once installed, landlords should ensure the mailboxes are operational and in compliance with the United States Postal Service laws and regulations, which are quite detailed and have severe consequences for non-compliance.

MailBox Key

United States Postal Service (USPS) regulations require mailboxes in buildings containing three or more apartments to be secured with separate locks and keys unless the landlord has arranged in advance to distribute the mail to each apartment. Landlords must keep the mailboxes in good repair. If the tenants share a mailbox with the landlord, the landlord should take care to ensure that tenants receive the mail. Lost or withheld mail can be considered theft, and under federal law (18 USC 1708), stealing, taking, or attempting to do so can receive serious fines or up to 5 years imprisonment. Depending on the setup, lost mailbox keys may be obtained through the post office. See the lease for who is responsible. Mail carriers cannot, by law, deliver mail to boxes that have a broken lock or key slot so broken locks should be repaired immediately.

Mailbox Size and Labeling

Mailboxes must be USPS-approved before installation and receipt of mail. The USPS has some mandatory standards for mailboxes, referred to as the “4C Standards”. Mailboxes must be a certain height, a certain size, and each box must have a label of the apartment name or tenant name.  It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep these labels up to date as tenants move in and out. To provide postman access, the boxes must include an authorized USPS arrow lock and give the carrier a key to a locked lobby or foyer containing the USPS mailboxes. To reduce the cost to landlords, they may not have to implement newer requirements until they decide to add new mailboxes or replace existing ones. The full specs can be found here: Wall-mounted mailboxes: http://about.usps.com/publications/engineering-standards-specifications/spusps-std-4c001.pdf. Curbside mailboxes : https://www.hunker.com/13401038/apartment-mailbox-regulations

MailBox Key


United States Postal Service (USPS) regulations require mailboxes in buildings containing three or more apartments to be secured with separate locks and keys unless the landlord has arranged in advance to distribute the mail to each apartment. Landlords must keep the mailboxes in good repair. If the tenants share a mailbox with the landlord, the landlord should take care to ensure that tenants receive the mail. Lost or withheld mail can be considered theft, and under federal law (18 USC 1708), stealing, taking, or attempting to do so can receive serious fines or up to 5 years imprisonment.

Depending on the setup, lost mailbox keys may be obtained through the post office. See the lease for who is responsible. Mail carriers cannot, by law, deliver mail to boxes that have a broken lock or key slot so broken locks should be repaired immediately.

Mailbox Size and Labeling


Mailboxes must be USPS-approved before installation and receipt of mail. The USPS has some mandatory standards for mailboxes, referred to as the “4C Standards”. Mailboxes must be a certain height, a certain size, and each box must have a label of the apartment name or tenant name. It is the landlord’s responsibility to keep these labels up to date as tenants move in and out. To provide postman access, the boxes must include an authorized USPS arrow lock and give the carrier a key to a locked lobby or foyer containing the USPS mailboxes. To reduce the cost to landlords, they may not have to implement newer requirements until they decide to add new mailboxes or replace existing ones. The full specs can be found here:

Wall-mounted mailboxes: http://about.usps.com/publications/engineering-standards-specifications/spusps-std-4c001.pdf.

Curbside mailboxes :

https://www.hunker.com/13401038/apartment-mailbox-regulations

Last Update : July 22, 2018 UTC

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