Law For Residential Mail Box

Law For Residential Mail Box – Residential Mailbox Regulations

Citizens are swindled out of millions of dollars every year by mail scams and mail theft.  The law for residential mail box thefts needs to be revamped.  Some residential mailbox laws are already in place but few people know about them.

Existing residential mailbox laws state that only authorized letter carriers may insert mail into a residential mailbox.  A penalty will be imposed for anyone who is not a letter carrier and is inserting mail in the residential mailbox.  It is a federal offense for tampering with the mail and a fine or possibly jail time can be the punishment for the offense.  Generally, resident mailboxes are for mail use only.

However, newspapers and magazines which are sent on Sundays and national holidays can be placed in the residential mailbox if the homeowner removes them before the next mail delivery.  The USPS code states that private carriers may deliver newspapers and place them in the newspaper receptacle only.  The receptacle cannot touch the residential mailbox, cannot interfere with the delivery of the mail, does not extend beyond the front of the mailbox and does not display any advertising except for the name of the publication.

The USPS Domestic Mail Manual states that “no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items of matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle.”  In other words, the mailbox may not be used for anything other than for pieces of mail with postage attached.  The USPS Domestic Mail Manual goes on to states that it is a federal offense and there is a significant penalty for violating this law.

Homeowners need to be aware that even though they purchased and maintain the residential mailbox, the mailbox belongs to and is controlled by the USPS (United States Postal Service).  That means that any tampering of the mailbox is a federal offense.


  1. I really like your post. Does it copyright protected?

  2. The article is usefull for me. I’ll be coming back to your blog.

  3. How soon will you update your blog? I’m interested in reading some more information on this issue.

  4. melissa s. says:

    Is it true it is now illegal to have the mailboxes that are on the door or wall?

  5. WebMaster says:

    More and more post offices are moving to curb-side delivery only. In other words they will not deliver mail to wall mounted mailboxes. Check with you local post office as to what they require before investing in a new mailbox.

  6. ROY BIERNACKI says:






    • Not legal, by law must have postage or permit. So I’m sure if you insist on this, the Association will place the postage on their newsletters, etc and pass the charges back
      to you in the form of higher maintenance fees. Are their infrequent notices really
      interferring with your US Mail delivery? Or maybe they’ll require you to place an
      additional receptacle at your residence to receive their notices/newsletters.

  7. well im having some problems getting my mail is it a federal offense to take someone elses mail from the mail box and then cash the check that has my name on it.

  8. Is there a law on blocking mail box.

  9. I am having some problem on missing mail because the mail man or women like to put my mail in the hallway windowsill or on the floor in the hallway and not in my mail box with my name on it. the mail box has a lock also. I called the loco post office and asked them to have the person to put the mail in my box. now it had started again I would like to know what can I do to have this stopped for good. I don’t understand this the box is in the same area where he drops the mail each day I have a report number that I had received today 1-2-10

  10. Hummingbird says:

    Can a neighbor use your mailbox to deliver their letter (form of harassment) to you without stamp and envelope? Is this a crime, if so what laws are they breaking? Thank you.

    • Wiliam Wilson says:


      Mailbox Tampering
      Mailbox tampering is considered any act that interferes with another person’s letter box or other receptacle. This can include: destruction of the mailbox itself, theft of mailbox contents, the placement of items in a mail receptacle by persons other than postal employees, or any action intended to obstruct or damage mail or mailbox property. In short, anyone other than mail recipients and postal employees should not touch a mailbox or its contents.

      Federal Law – Title 18, Section 1705
      There are several laws governing mail and mailbox property. Title 18 of the U.S. Code covers crimes and criminal procedure. According to Section 1705 of Title 18, “Whoever willfully or maliciously injures, tears down or destroys any letter box or other receptacle intended or used for the receipt or delivery of mail on any mail route, or breaks open the same or willfully or maliciously injures, defaces or destroys any mail deposited therein, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.” This means that violators can serve a prison sentence up to three years for each act of vandalism. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service notes that a fine of $250,000 can be levied

  11. My neighbors tenant parks in front of my mail box, and ive recieved letters in my mail box from our mail man saying our mail will be held back for two weeks. Ive spoken to the tenant but he refuses to move his car. Ive even called a police officer to ask him to remove his car but he still continues to park in front of our mail box. My question is that is there any way that we can prevent this from happening any more. Please reply to this email address.

  12. I did not know this. I wanted to check on it because my kids found 2 puppies and wanted to let neighbors know with a small (1/5 page) flyer so someone will claim them. A lady told them this was illegal and now my kids are freaked out.

  13. I have a problem with a former tenant going through my mail, what I can do about it?

    • WebMaster says:

      Contact your local US Post Office.

    • Im having an issue with one of my neighbors – last week she physically attacked me in which the police were contacted no arrests were made, that was a decision on both parties – but now I have just gone out to my mail box and there is a printed letter with Bible verses regarding forgiving and forgetting, thou shall not slander, attack and forgive just as God has forgiven us – and it continues on but not signed, this piece of paper was placed in my mailbox (was not mailed) I cant be sure who placed it in my mailbox – is there anything I can do legally, should I bring this unsigned letter to the police?

      • rmPublisher says:

        Placing items by persons other than official USPS carriers is a federal offense. I would make your local postmaster aware of the situation. Since the letter/note was not threatening, I’m not sure what the Police would be able to do.

  14. I have some questions regarding the placement of mailboxes…who controls it? I do live in a covenant community where parking is limit. Also, are there any regulations regarding parking in front of a mailbox?
    An answer would be greatly appreciated—this has become a souce of many arguments among the communty members.

    • WebMaster says:

      USPS will have the ultimate control over where the mailbox needs to be located (wall-mount, curbside, one central location etc.). The Association which governs your community may also dictate the type, color, sze of your mailbox. So check with both entities.

      I personally know that USPS will not deliver if the mailboxes are blocked by such things as parked cars or other obstructions. Hope this helps.

  15. How do you prove to the USPS if someone has been in your mailbox when you don’t have hard evidence? I am getting a locking mailbox, however, it would be nice to know that certain person I know of would have to pay the consequences.

  16. if you are starting a business and would like to place a flyer, in between the mailbox and the flyer is that illegal?

  17. russell barrella says:

    I live in south fallsburg, ny. The post office says i have to purchase a box to get mail because they don’t deliver to my area. Don’t they have to give me a box free of charge?

  18. It is a federal offense to tamper in any, way, shape, or form with a mailbox or its contents. It is a federal crime to open mail not addressed to you and to insert items into one’s mailbox if you are not a postal carrier. If an item is not addressed to you and it’s your neighbor’s then hand-deliver the item or put it in your box after writing “forward to address indicated” with your flag up but do not put the item in their box. If an item is delivered to you and you haven’t a clue who it is to but it’s for your address then write “return to sender” and put in back in your box with the flag up. As far as a box being blocked goes you must contact your city. I recently contacted the chairman over my area of the city to ammend the city parking policy to ticket a vehicle blocking a mailbox. Once ticketed the vehicle can be towed by a towing agency.

    • is it a crime if you move and the landlord removes the mailbox off the wall so you can no longer recieve mail there until your mailling address changes???

  19. Suzan Stanton says:

    Our mailboxes are aluminum and not securely anchored. The boxes move about 6-7 inches and really could be knocked over with a hefty shove. They have refused to replace them. It is a community for disabled people.

    We know the manager on premises has been in our box and we are sure has read our mail and put it back. We received it 12 days later.
    He has keys to all the boxes. Can we change locks on our own mailbox?

    What can we do?

  20. went to maibox am…there is a row of 18 boxes for apartment bulding..somebody crammed my mailbox full of old wet junk mail laying on ground..not mine(snow melted)..i removed it and put it on the ground were it had been for months..went to dr.apt..when gone someone put the mess at my back that a crime!

  21. Judy Hinds says:

    y our I manage a duplex property. Some get mail delivery by our rural delivery person. The side of the road they have to put their mailboxes are private residents. I have one who keeps removing the mailbox and has decided she does not want it on her yard anymore. Isn’t there an easement they have to allow for t his? These people will be charged to get a post office box because they have home delivery available. Please reply to my e-mail address

  22. Is it a crime to thumb tack a piece of paper to a mailbox post?

  23. rajinder kharbanda says:

    some one stole my credit card and my husband’s licence from the mailbox, which does not have lock. I like to know where I should go to find out if I can have my own mail box with lock. Di Ihave to inform omy close post office also. I do not know where to start to having my own mailbox with lock. I live in seatac area in seattle sate of washington.

  24. I have a curbside brick mailbox already but am having my driveway expanded to include a turn-around, etc. I’d like to have the mailbox moved several feet over to make room for turning around, extra parking, etc. Is this legal???

  25. dennis schemm says:

    Here is a question for you ? The new owner of the building in which I live lied to the postal delivery person and told them there are only 4 units in the building and is forcing us to share a mailbox with another tenant , there are 8 seperate units here !! Who do I cantact in my area to get this issue resolved ?? Fort Lauderdale , Florida — I know this has got to be against some sort of federal law — anyone have some advice ??? thanks

  26. Does my neigbor have the right to relocated my mail box?.

    • rmPublisher says:

      I don’t believe anyone other than the rightful owner can move mailboxes (with USPS approval). Check with local postmaster on this…

  27. ……………some more info.I live in a town where mail boxes are one side of the street. My mail boxes is right next to my neighbor it’s been there for 21 plus years. Neighbor decided he wanted to move my mail / post box down the street away from his mail box. He dug the post out and moved everything down the street some 60 feet. Want right does he have to do this?.

  28. ……………is moving another person mail box considered “tampering”.

  29. What does federal laws say about having a mailbox put up if your house is under construction?

  30. Larry Miller says:

    One of the mailboxes is missing its lock. As a resident and trustee for the condo assotion, can I replace the missing lock?

  31. Is it ok to have ups leave letters in my mailbox

  32. June Romans says:

    I live in a condo with lock mail boxes in blocks. The USPS delivers weekly flyers from various stores and I do not want these flyers. Do I have the right to deny receiving this wasteful paper that ends up in the trash?

  33. I think it’s rediculous that we pay taxes for lazy Postmen. I regret signing petitions to save our
    little post office and their employees as well. All I get is grief from these so call Federal workers. I was made to move my mailbox to the curb since the previous owners placed it on the other side of the sidewalk. No big deal. Then the lazy Postman keeps shoving every size letter and package in the regulated box which eventually broke off the post. I thought if they had something large they could walk to the door and leave it or hold it until I can pick it up. Instead they continue to fill the box on the ground rain or shine. (Numerous times I have screwed it back in place.) 85% of my neighborhood has wall mounts near their front door, so I figured I would purchase one as well with a lock. I traveled for a week to find out that they were saying I have NO mailbox to deliver to, and that it’s a Federeal Regulation that it must be curbside. I do not believe that this has passed, and that they’re just incompetent Government workers. It really isn’t fair that they can destroy anyone’s property, and have the opportunity to do it again. These packages are way to big, even for the largest mailbox. Shouldn’t they try to respect the recipient’s mail and box? They should be fired!!!

  34. When a tenant moves can I remove the mailbox to that address since i own the property and the mailbox-so as not to have the previous tenant lerking around the area to check for his mail -he would have to go the local post office if he doesn’t forward his mail.

    • rmPublisher says:

      I have done the same thing for my rental properties in the past… but check with your local PO – they may be able to hold the mail if you can prove you’re the property owner.

  35. aduluthdad says:

    I’ve just experienced the arrogance and petty enforcement of the ‘POSTAGE’ requirement on an item left for me in my mailbox. This regulation is a perfect suggestion as to why the USPS is going down the drain. If the existence of a single envelope in my box is declared to “hinder” the delivery by the delivery person, then they don’t have a ghost of a chance of succeeding in this modern world. In our case, our delivery person came to the door and demanded payment for ‘postage due’. We gave him what he wanted in the form of 1 cent stamps. I imagine a rule will be promulgated to outlaw this practice much in the same manner that the IRS has banned payment of taxes by use of small change. All I can do is shake my head!

  36. Deirdra says:

    I am considering moving into a home that the owner has split into a front and back apartment. I am told that all the bills have to go in my name because I will be in the front part of the house, but I noticed that there is only one mailbox and the owner said that it has to be shared, is that illegal? I do not know the person that is living in the back and would not feel comfortable with her going through my mail. If any of my mail disappears who do I go to the Post office or the owner?

    • rmPublisher says:

      You have a very valid point – it sounds like an illegal setup. You should consult with your local USPS office.

  37. reneethatsall says:


  38. O Hargis says:

    we live on a very busy highway and to cross is very danger my husband isn’t able to get across the road very quick as he shuffle, and the only time he goes to get the mail is when I’m sick and can’t go. I went to the postmaster and try to get it move to the left side which is a county road also there are two more houses on this road, but because the mail carrier has to make a left turn and when they pull out another left. They wouldn’t let us move them. There are 4 mail boxes on the right side but only 3 would be moved also about every two month one of us has to purchase a new box where some come through with something and knock the boxes off. there are more left hand turn from this driver and they are in a bad curve. Are there any other way that we can get this change to .

  39. GaSouthEagle says:

    I am trying to help a disabled person to get his life straightened out and one of his issues is the property owner where my friend rents a trailer lot keeps telling him he can only have one mailbox. If that is true how can I get a written hard copy of that particular code so I can convince him that the property owner is correct?

  40. Mercedes says:

    Can landlord, or roommate change locks on mailbox without notice, even though this ours your living address and mailing address?

    • rmPublisher says:

      I don’t believe that is legal, if the tenant still, legally resides at that location. I would recommend that you check with your local USPS office.

  41. Donna Albro says:

    I have given permission for my neighbor to put their outgoing mail in my mailbox for the mail carrier. Yesterday there was a nasty note from the carrier saying essentially that “it is a private mailbox for the use only of the residents of my address. ” My neighbors have a post office box and it is inconvenient for them to go to P.O. just to send out mail. There is no “big blue mailbox” in our area.

    • rmPublisher says:

      The carrier is correct. It is a federal offence to place or take mail from a box that does not belong to you/resident.

  42. Elizabeth says:

    Is it illegal to tie balloons to your mailbox post? It is not interfering with the actual mailbox.

  43. My mailbox is located near the street & is not a locked mailbox. Is it a Federal offense to open a neighbors mailbox & leave the mailbox door open if it does NOT belong to you. My neighbor is doing it & also stealing any junk mail or newspapers that are in the mailbox? Please advise because I’m tired of the neighbor leaving my mailbox door open & stealing any mail that is of interest to her! Do I need to set up a video camera on this neighbor for legal purposes??

    • rmPublisher says:

      It is indeed a federal offense to tamper with a mailbox that does not belong to them… contact your local USPS immediately.

  44. A postal worker has to deliver to well over a thousand addresses a day. Even if only one tenth of the time he/she had to leave the vehicle and even if that only took 30 seconds each time, that would add 50 minutes a day. EVERY DAY! All because you don’t want to spend 30 minutes ONCE to solve the problem. Who’s the lazy one in that scenario?

  45. Is it true that a law exists mandating all mailboxes be appropriately marked with the address as to ensure proper USPS delivery and also to aid emercency services in responding to correct location?

  46. Is it illegal to share a mailbox with another tenant

    • peter benedict says:

      did you get an answer about this matter,,, i have a tenant telling me its a law t for each tenant to have his or her own box put up , thanking you peter

  47. Kathy Wyatt Sparks says:

    we have a double brick mail box for us and the neighbor accross the street. My husband built the mail box in our yard to match the house. Mail is delivered on our side of the road in our yard. The neighbor makes huge ugly carnation flowers ? from polastic table clothes and put 1 on her side of the mail box . they look awful and it is in my yard . Is this leagal. what are my rights ? I do not speak to her she does this to annoy us . I ask the mail carrier and he said to call police I want to rip the things off and throw then in her yard . Mail box been there 20 years and she getting senile ?? help

  48. is it a federal offensive for my landlord to replace my curbside mailbox or does he have that right we live in oklahoma thanks

  49. My neighbour has decided that my mailbox is 3/4 built on his property – only quarter on ours. This was in error as we thought it was our property. 10 years after he moved in – they had a survey done. Anyway they tell us they are going to demolish our stone mailbox and small 1ft high wall which borders the property. We have agreed that if they are correct then they will be given permission to move these but we must do it legally so as not to have further problems.
    they obviously do not wish to spend money on this so have decided to park a car on their property but with 2 wheels on the road absolutely overlapping the mail box so we are now unable to get mail. The mailbox has been in this position for many years. What can we do – are they within their rights to prevent us receiving our mail in this way.? Petty and vindictive it may be – but is it also illegal.? Who decides where a mailbox should be placed.?

  50. Is it against the law in Oregon to park in front of your mailbox?

  51. If you live in a private home with 5 multi mailboxes but a tenant in wheelchair can’t access their mailbox due to stairs in way can mailbox be moved near their door just opposite porch of where it is now (there are two porches in house closest to two other tenents homes) it is only maybe 3-5 foot difference and there is ramp there for wheelchair access ….went to post master just ingnoring request.

  52. So it is only legal for a member of the post office to put all sorts to marketing crap in my mailbox. There is no stamps on these items … I think citizens should have the right to stop the post office putting marketing crap in my mailbox.

    • The “marketing crap” is postage paid, they all have stamps or are inked in some way to show that the business has paid for the postage.

    • H. Allen Childress says:

      If I purchase my mailbox, maintain MY property, The frikn US post office does not have the right to dictate what I can get in my mailbox. Nor do they have the right to impose laws that are outside their scope of business. I f they put something in my mailbox and someone else paid for it, then that is legal. But if I tell my landscaper, lawn treatment company/ pest control, pool guy to put my bill in mailbox then that should be my right to authorize. Our GOVERNMENT needs to be put in their place and we need to have an uprising to get rid of these dictating, money driven, crooked/ agenda politicians and our presidents that seem to think we want what they promote. NO WE DON,T

      • If they want to put their bill in the mailbox then they should put a stamp on it. Just like you cant go to an oil change place and bring your own oil, they are loosing revenue. I agree that an uprising needs to take place, but not for this. They are bigger problems in our government other then proper use of a mailbox. Priortize.

        • They don’t have to put a stamp, because the mail person Didn’t deliever it! They aren’t loosing revenue, it saves them cost also. Btw you can take your own oil to some stations, that saves them the trouble of going and buying oil. Since there isn’t a line that says when it’s time to address problems, (that line keeps getting pushed anyway) all problems can be addressed. If it helps someone, then it helps.

      • I so agree! I just ran across this site today as I was searching for info on mailboxes.

        We all know these general laws about the “Mailboxes”, but again, and particularly in this day and age.., it’s crap that these rules are present. Does the Post Office pay for the repairs of the mailboxes….., that their carriers absolutely trash????? Our neighborhood HOA replaced all the mailboxes with ones that had metal post in concrete vs 4 x 4 wood beams we had previously, just 6 yrs ago and now they are twisted and in disrepair due to the carriers.

      • AMAN brother

      • mike sundman says:

        I don’t think I have ever agreed with anyone as much as I do this thank you for putting it so bluntly

    • I am with you Trevor. As a landscaper, I am putting a 3″x5″ pink slip in mailboxes, I received a call from postmaster, who threatened to have me arrested. Too bad if they are loosing revenue, its not their mailbox. The post office is an outdated system and it seems the only mail I get at home is junk mail. On top of that I don’t get my mail till 7:00 at night, hows that overtime. These guys drive around or walk around delivering letters, try landscaping in the heat, or some actual manual labor. Like teachers they are over paid spoiled brats, oh wait they are government / union employees.

  53. I have a P O box can i remove my mailbox at my address if I dont use it, it is falling apart and i am not replacing it since i have a PO box. can i remove it

    • Hi Larry, you can setup a forwarding service for all your mail to be delivered to your PO Box instead of your home. Remove your mailbox or tape it shut.

  54. david parsons says:

    Does a milkbox take the place of a mailbox? I say no but a patron refuses to replace with a mailbox. Can i stop delivery to this stubborn resident?

  55. monnie montreal says:

    can a business, have there mailbox located on a private lot…is it legal..this is a rural route

  56. carolyn Hunt says:

    I live in an RV community. The HOA is charging $65.00 per year to have a mail box. Is this legal?

  57. concerned says:

    Excuse me. Owner is an @zz. She just want to get our mail only from the box. He stating its private box and its illegal for us to get our mail.

  58. Questioning says:

    My local USPS is dragging its feet installing the security lock on my apartment units four slot mail box. It’s been about three to four weeks since it was installed but according to the sticker on the front it explains that it should not be used until lock is installed by USPS. Yet my mail is still being delivered (sticker also explains how to open the unlocked mail unit by just pulling down with your finger, through the opening where the lock should go). I’ve contacted the post office over a week ago and they said I should by no means have my mail delivered and they were going to investigate and hold my mail until the lock is installed. I’m still getting my mail delivered though. I filed a complaint with USPS as the post office in question refuses to answer its phone during business hours ( I let it ring for a full hour today, no one answered. Not even the other number which I let ring for about half an hour).
    What are the specific laws about secure mail delivery to these mail box units?

    • You must contact the 800# at to file a complaint. Please do not call the Post Office directly as they are short handed.

  59. Does anyone know how far away from the road you have to be to put in a post for a residential mailbox. Is there an easement restriction–can you be inside the county road easement of the road or does the mailbox post have to be just outside the easement.

    • Chris,

      Just as long as the carrier can drive up to the box without getting out of his/her vehicle then there would be no problem where you put it. Must be visible from the road.

  60. Wondering says:

    So. I was renting out a house and long story short I court ordered them to move out. Well when they did they dug up the mail box and took it with them! Since mail boxes are federal property, is there any way I have a law suit?

    • Wondering,

      Do you have solid proof, IE: video or photos they were the people that stole your mailbox, or do you just assume they stole it?

  61. Sorry if I should start a new thread: Here is a new topic of concern. I allowed an individual (under verbal agreemnet) to place a temporary mailbox on my property until they could locate a spot on there own property. This agreement was 8 months ago. The postal delivery does not deliver on that side of the street; due to city limit border. So… he decides to tell me it is his right to leave it where it is and also adds two more boxes on the frame he built. Yeah it looks bad in my front yard. So in the end he agreed to move on a certain date. The moving of the box, never happened, until the day after in which I moved it and placed it on his porch. Now I am being threatened. Your thoughts please>>>

    • If your street is one way then the mailbox must be on your side. If not, I would file a change of address with USPS for your neighbor to the City that does handle the neighbors side of the street.

  62. Is it illegal to retrieve your personal mail from someone else’s mailbox? I would think not because your mail is your private property, therefore, as long as you don’t tamper with the property owner’s mail, there should not be a problem

  63. NomadHeart says:

    Helloz people!

    My location is 31548.
    What does Postal and Federal law say about putting adds by hand (like door hangers) “IN” my mailbox.
    I thought this was a Felony!

    • Nomad,

      Yes this is a felony. Please keep all adds that were put inside your mailbox (Not hanging from outside your mailbox) and give them to your Post Office when you have a chance and explain to them that someone put these fliers in your box illegally. The fliers must have an address and or a phone number. If they have neither an address and or phone number then the Post Office cannot seek them out and press charges.

      • what is the law for mail being put in mail boxes by individuals not working for the postal service? such as neighbors, landlords, tennets, ect.

  64. MICHELLE MORGA says:

    well like 1 week ago the manager of my apartment complex is painting the the outside of the units… he removed all the 8 mailboxes… i asked the landlord how will we get out mail.. she said the mailman is handing her all the mail for the units and she wil;l deliver to us… ok welll her daugher who is like 12 droped it off one day she dropped it of 2 other times but other then that theis it legaly said we have no mail… it just seems weird that the landlady is hanede out are mail…..

    • Michelle,

      You need to contact the Post Office right away is this is continuing. It is illegal for the carrier to give other peoples mail to the building manager without prior written approval by you!

  65. Jessica says:

    I’m having problems already with my apartments, but they have been crossing the line.and I been getting folded up noticess in my locked envolope or stamp and they had to have opened the box to place the paper this even legal?

    • Jessica, Please contact the US Postal Inspection Service

      Callers can reach the appropriate Postal Inspection Service office by dialing 1-877-876-2455 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in all time zones, and selecting from these options:

      Mail service issues [callers are then directed to 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777)]
      Emergency situations
      Mail theft or identity theft issues
      Mail fraud issues
      Postal Inspection Service customer support
      Option No. 2, Emergency situations, is automatically routed to a special operator for assistance if a call is made after business hours.

  66. Milan Vit says:

    My landlord is interfering with a residential mailbox in the apartment building he owns – he has the key to open the mailboxes, and he opened a friend’s mailbox. I believe tampering with USPS mailbox is a federal offense – what are my options to stop the landlord from opening mailbox (without spending a fortune on a lawyer)?


  67. elton clark says:

    What is the penalty in tennessee for stealing mail from, and tearing up outgoing mail from a residential mailbox on private property?

  68. Common Sense Guy says:

    Is it legal for the Post Office to place their “Point of Service” sticker in my mailbox, removing it and replacing it when they choose to do so? Every time they remove an old sticker, it leaves a sticky, leftover adhesive that’s about 1″ x 4″ long, which makes dirt stick to it, as well as becoming unsightly, even though it’s inside my mailbox.

    I tried to complain about it, but the “Postmaster” at my local branch took an approach of over-entitlement and power, very defensively stating, “We can put ANYTHING we want in YOUR mailbox.” (She then showed her lack of maturity by slamming a door on me for everyone in the branch to see, like a child throwing a tantrum.) All I was asking was if there was a way they could replace it in the same spot each time they move it, so we don’t have sticky crap all over the inside of OUR mailbox.

    (Another fine example of a Federal employee understanding they are “Teflon” and can do whatever they choose to do without any repercussion or having to answer to anyone.)

  69. John Locke says:

    My neighbor keeps parking in front of my mailbox so the mail carrier can not get access to the mail box can anything be done to stop this? Is there a rule about how close to a mailbox people can park?
    Thank you,

    • John,

      Please contact your local Post Office and give the address of the person who is parking their vehicle blocking the mailbox. They should send them a nice letter explaining that it is illegal for them to delay the mail which is what he is doing.

      • Jimmy,

        You may want to check your facts, it is not illegal to park in front of a mail receptacle.
        According to the USPS DMM (Domestic Mail Manual) it is the responsibility of the resident to prevent any obstructions, that would prevent the Mail carrier from delivery the mail.
        But if a vehicle is legally parked on the road, there is no jurisdiction / law preventing this.

        • It is federal offence to interfere with mail delivery.
          From Title 18, USC, Section 1701.
          “Section 1701. Obstruction of mails generally
          Whoever knowingly and willfully obstructs or retards the passage of the mail, or any carrier or conveyance carrying the mail, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

          Dependent upon your local ordinances as well, residents may be required to park within so may feet of a mailbox. In my township it is within 10 ft. either direction. Some townships it is 50 ft. File a complaint with your local post master. Take photos as well, just in case the problem goes unresolved and you have to contact the Inspector.

  70. Hello!
    Can anyone tell me if a person no longer resides at a home residence, but continues to look inside the homes mailbox for mail, and takes items out of the box, is this against the law? This couple moved 2 months ago, but continue to look in my mailbox. How can I stop this? The mail that comes for them, I am returning to the senders stating that the person moved and left no forwarding address. Thank you for your help!

  71. I was fined $1.85 per book by the local postmaster for hanging my Avon catalogues on the outside of people’s mailboxes. They told me the bags hanging there interfered with the postman delivering the mail, and that she retrieved and disposed of an undisclosed number of my catalogues, for which they still charged me postage, even though they were thereby not delivered.

  72. Im living in a bad area .my mailbox is open at all times from the top were the mail man separates every ones mail . Is real upsetting to know that anyone can just open my mail box .i already had mail taken from my box and I told the land lord .he say he will look in to it .is been six mounth and nothing yet .is it illegal to have the whole mailbox open to the building and if not who is responsible for lost or stolen mail the post office or the landlord? And what if the landlord won’t help?

  73. Is there a law that states that residents have to display their address numbers on the mailbox when the Address numbers are clearly displayed on the house, visible from the mailbox??

  74. Is there a law that states that residents have to display their address numbers on the mailbox when the Address numbers are clearly displayed on the house, visible from the mailbox??
    My Carrier suddently refuses to deliver my mail, after 25+ years of delivery, until I display my address numbers on the mail box??? Can they legally do that???

    • Per “The house or apartment number should be clearly displayed on your mailbox. And, if your mailbox is on a different street than your house, the street name should appear on it, too.”

  75. Jimmy Branch says:

    I have had (2) mailboxes destroyed in ten months by vehicles the first was a bricked column mail box.
    I would like to relocate the mailbox to the side of the house facing the court (culdesac) instead of the front facing the main street there are 4 mailboxes on the court already.
    Do I have to get a change of address to move the mailbox?

  76. If a person has decided not to have contact with a person but had an item belonging to the person and placed the item into the mailbox to avoid walking on property can one still be in trouble? the item was placed and a message sent to person saying item was in mailbox. Nothing was removed nor did it cause a problem for the mail carrier.

  77. we have an existing rural mailbox that was setup according to what the original mail carrier wanted at that time. He told me it was just what he wanted. A year or so later we got a new mail carrier and within two to three weeks he wanted me to move our mail box to a new location on the property. I was never told the reason why. Does he have the authority to make me move the mail box? Every time we get a new mail carrier do I have to move my box to suit their whim ?

  78. city says says:

    The city I live in told me they have an ordinance about placing political signs on the right of way. Which has never been enforced. I tacked a political sign to my mailbox post. Not in the ground. My neighbor is on the city council and is against my political views. He called the police and they came and took my sign off my mailbox? Can anyone tell me if this is right?

  79. Kim Shepard says:

    Does the postman have a right to remove a mailbox without official notification?

  80. Being in our late 70’s we have to cross a very busy highway to get our mail plus the box is 100 foot or so from our driveway , But our next door neighbor has his mail box 30 foot down his driveway and the mail person uses their driveway as a turn around , ” not a circular driveway”
    When theres a apartment with 8 mailbox’s 3 addresses down on my side of the highway, with a circular driveway that she could go to turn around, then I could move my box to my side of the highway !! but she refuses ???? I understand there is a law that a mail person can’t turn around in a persons driveway unless it is a circular one ??? I live in Pa.

  81. Dear Madam or Sir:

    We have recently bought a 60 year old house with the mail box on the house. We received a notice from the mailman that we need to put to place a mail box by the road. The post office says it is mandatory and the mail will not be delivered unless we relocate the box from the house to the curve.

    The neighborhood is a well established and my husband has researched by looking at the other houses on our block and found no other mailboxes by the curve.

    Are we legally bound to this request? We appreciate any one’s comments.

  82. I have squatters in my building in Rosemont, IL. I am in the process of eviction. They put a note on the mailbox outside the building saying anyone who messes with the mailbox will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Now nobody in our building is getting there mail, what can i do?

  83. My neighbor is placing nasty threatening notes in my mail box. Is this illegal?

  84. What is the purpose of this law? Is that purpose still relevant?

    “Existing residential mailbox laws state that only authorized letter carriers may insert mail into a residential mailbox. A penalty will be imposed for anyone who is not a letter carrier and is inserting mail in the residential mailbox. It is a federal offense for tampering with the mail and a fine or possibly jail time can be the punishment for the offense. Generally, resident mailboxes are for mail use only.

    However, newspapers and magazines which are sent on Sundays and national holidays can be placed in the residential mailbox if the homeowner removes them before the next mail delivery. The USPS code states that private carriers may deliver newspapers and place them in the newspaper receptacle only. The receptacle cannot touch the residential mailbox, cannot interfere with the delivery of the mail, does not extend beyond the front of the mailbox and does not display any advertising except for the name of the publication.

    The USPS Domestic Mail Manual states that “no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items of matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle.” In other words, the mailbox may not be used for anything other than for pieces of mail with postage attached. The USPS Domestic Mail Manual goes on to states that it is a federal offense and there is a significant penalty for violating this law.

    Homeowners need to be aware that even though they purchased and maintain the residential mailbox, the mailbox belongs to and is controlled by the USPS (United States Postal Service). That means that any tampering of the mailbox is a federal offense. “

  85. I apologize if I have posted this in the wrong section. I need to know laws regarding community (residential?) Mailboxes. I live rural and my mailbox is about a mile from my home. It is a huge box with multiple locking boxes shared by about 20 people. The first of this month it was stolen along with several others. Now the post office is telling us they will not replace it at a cost of about $200 each person who shares the box. No one who shares the box seems to want to pay so the post office said we should all get together to decide what to do but I have no idea who shares the box! I was told they will only hold my mail for two weeks. Is the post office responsible for providing these boxes. We are not allowed to put up our own personal box.

  86. How long do I have to report mail box tampering. A man across the road put a vet bill in my mail box without mailing it. It had no postage. The bill was from him to me.

  87. I understand if a homeowner was to damage HIS mailbox, then he should be punished. The same goes for vandalism. But, if I so chose to relocate MY mailbox, then that should be my choice. I agree with others, if the US Postal Service rules my mailbox, then they should be the ones who provides it for my home. If by some chance mine gets destroyed or stolen, I will not replace it. The US Postal Service can place my mail on my front porch. If they are going to control it, then they need to install it and maintain it. Although I agree with all of the previous comments, I don’t think that was the intention of the laws when they were made. I think that some mail carriers need to be set straight and not be telling home owners that if they move their mail box for either their easier access due to health reasons for for the good of the mail carrier, they will be prosecuted for breaking federal laws.

  88. We live in a rural subdivision. We made a stone pillar to hold our mailbox. It is the regulation 6 inches from the curb. We are being told it’s against state regulations (MN) to have it because it doesn’t swing away or isn’t able to break off if someone hits it. After losing a few mailboxes, are we justified in placing it in a secure enclosure or can our county township make us remove it?

  89. I live in a duplex but the landlord only has one address registered at the location, and only one mailbox is provided. I got tired of my neighbor taking my mail, so I went and rented a PO Box. Now my local motor vehicle division states they have to send my new title (to a car I just bought out of state) to my physical address, and refuse to send it to my PO Box. I am concerned my neighbor will then steal the title, forcing me to spend a lot of time and money to deal with getting a replacement issued. is there a law that states if you have 2 renters in one building, there need to be 2 unique addresses (as in Unit 1a, 1b, or 10A Main Street and 10B Main street ?) Please advise. Thanks.

  90. Law for Residential Mail Box. I live across street from apts. I have problems weekly with my mail delivery. Sometimes carrier will get out of vehicle and deliver mail and sometimes not. This is a motorized route. My wife is partiley disabled what can I do to stop the blockage of the mail box she orders her prescriptions to be delivered by mail.

  91. Jan Boike says:

    I am replacing a double mailbox post to a single one. What is my responsibilty to my neighbor and how do I handle?

  92. vanessa says:

    Are my neighbours who live upstairs from me in a duplex aloud to go through my mailbox? My mailbox is on the front porch and theres is on the side of the house. They used to live here like 6 months ago and I really dont like them going through my mailbox. Is it a crime for them to do so? I think it should be….. thnx

  93. I have a question. There’s this lady who keeps putting envolopes on our mailbox. Taping them to it. She doesn’t work for the USPS. She used to be a friend of my fathers. She is pretty much stalking us. Should I keep them and return them to the post office? And have them contact the lady that keeps putting these letters on the mailbox.

  94. Winston herren says:

    How far down private rd can you place your mailbox

  95. I have a question – is it legal for USPS to hold my mail because they state that my mailbox is not adequate for the amount of mail I receive? Which is not true, I’ve had the same type of mailbox for 10 years, and when I mentioned this to the mail lady she said maybe just leave it unlocked so they can put everything in it, I explained to her there is the magazine rack on the bottom of the mail box, and she said it takes too much time to separate the larger junk mail from letter mail. So because it’s a “hassle” for her I should risk unlocking my mail box along with identity theft??? I don’t get it and I’ve called the local post office twice now, still waiting for a call back from the women who left the notice after she sis postal “inspections”.
    – Pissed off in California

  96. Another stupid government law / regulation. I am a landscaper, and I leave a carbon copy slip in mailboxes after we cut. I got a call from post master saying I could arrested. So let me get this straight, homeowner buys and installs mailbox maintains to their regulations, they are ok with me putting slips in there, but the government owns it. Just another example of stupidity. I know mailmen and like most public service workers they want everything and want to do nothing! I feel bad for them when its 100 degrees out, walking / driving around delivering mail, boo boo try some real labor in that weather, like cutting grass or installing patio. Pamered spoiled little brats is what I call, like most union workers, and an example of government of over exerting their power.

  97. Is it illegal for me to retrieve a piece of mail out of my own mailbox that was addressed to someone else? A minor in the household wrote a letter and stamped it, but it shouldn’t have been sent.

  98. Is it legal for a Homeowner’s Association to charge a $50.00 non-refundable “mailbox fee”?

  99. Is it legal for the hoa I live in to lock my mailbox (we have room with numbered locked boxes) if I don’t pay dues…..when I do not have a mail box in front of my home…..and am told I’m not allowed to have one….nobody in this hoa has one… basically they are telling me unless I do a they say they will lock my box and force me to pay for a post office box in town

  100. I respect my postal carriers. But why are none postal carriers allowed to •Open Mailboxes and put mussel anions liturature ..
    I Understand our law.. So why arnent they penalized and persecuted due to breaking the law. for going into. Mailboxes
    Please do Respond.
    Thank you

  101. Juanita Juarez says:

    I have a question..So I have a home.I’ve got a roommate..She hasn’t paid not one bill. Or any of the rent. I went in her room to close the window because I was turning on the air conditioner..I saw an envelope..I had one just like it that I mailed to my worker. She took it out of the mailbox, opened it reading my time sensitive mail and left it in her room…If Iwwouldn’t have seen it my Girls Insurance would’ve been cancelled..What can I do??

  102. Re: mailbox slots in the side of a house. Mail only? What are the law(s) re what is allowed to be placed in the slot?

  103. My neighbor across the road (where all the mailboxes are) said that our mailbox is tacky and if we didn’t get it to post office standards he would remove it himself and that we have one week to remove the mailbox before he takes it down Is this legal? He states that he can remove it if it has been below usps standards for more than 6 months.


  1. [...] Law For Residential Mail Box – Residential-Mailboxes.netMay 31, 2009 … Citizens are swindled out of millions every year by mail scams and mail theft. The law for residential mail box thefts needs to be revamped. [...]

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