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.

Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

      • 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. monnie montreal says:

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

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

  8. 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 usps.com to file a complaint. Please do not call the Post Office directly as they are short handed.

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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 mailbox.no envolope or stamp and they had to have opened the box to place the paper inside.is 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.

  16. 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)?

    Thanks,
    Milan

  17. 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?

  18. 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.)

  19. 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

    • 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.

        http://pe.usps.gov/Archive/HTML/DMMArchive0106/print/508.htm

        • 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 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?

  23. 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??

  24. 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???

  25. 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?

  26. 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.

  27. 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 ?

  28. 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?

  29. Kim Shepard says:

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

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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?

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

  34. 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. “

  35. 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.

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  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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