Many people often wonder why mailboxes are federal property. There is actually a careful balance of legal policy that establishes the ownership and property rights of your mailbox. To be sure, the process starts with the resident’s purchase of an up-to-code mailbox. (You can visit usps.com to find out about all the necessary specifications). However, once a mailbox is properly installed and ready for use, it is effectively considered Federal Property.

According to federal law (Title 18, United States Code, Section 1705), it is “a crime to vandalize mailboxes (or to injure, deface or destroy any mail deposited in them). Violators can be fined up to $250,000, or imprisoned for up to three years, for each act of vandalism.” This law puts your mailbox under Federal jurisdiction in order to protect you (the resident) from any harm or vandalism that may occur from a mailbox’s misuse. (Aside: vandalism and even mail theft are rarely prosecuted as federal crimes, but that’s a topic for a separate blog post).

But, that is just the first half of the story.

Once you install your mailbox, and it is ready for the receipt of mail, you effectively lease your mailbox to the federal government for the service of mail delivery. Let’s not forget that, as long as you have an up-to-code mailbox, receiving mail is a free service. Sending mail isn’t free (stamps, shipping, postage, etc). Because you lease your mailbox to the Postal Service, they require that your mailbox meet certain criteria regarding placement, design, and usage in order to maintain your service. If you do not meet these criteria in any way, you break the lease and the Postal Service will no longer use your box for mail delivery.

For more information on the Postmaster General approval process specifically related to locking mailboxes, check out these useful posts.

145 Comments

  1. Craig Lounsbury on July 2, 2015 at 10:50 am

    It seems like part 1 and part 2 are somewhat in conflict. If the mailbox “is effectively considered Federal Property” then how can I “effectively lease your mailbox to the federal government for the service of mail delivery.” If its already theirs how do I lease it to them?

    • Franchesca berrios on February 9, 2020 at 4:49 am

      Landlord refuses to fix broken mailboxes not receiving mail what do I do

      • CW on April 13, 2020 at 2:12 pm

        I would write a letter to your city management and the US Postal Inspectors in your area as the mailbox was initially installed and maintained by the landlord, they are required for the upkeep of it.

      • Dion Byrd on May 28, 2020 at 9:17 pm

        Is it illegal to tie a rope around a mail box to prevent access by postal carriers?

        • Gabriel w/ MailBoss on June 1, 2020 at 4:31 pm

          Is it your mailbox? If so, I don’t see any problems with doing that. You can also place a Hold Mail Order online on the USPS website.

      • Wendy on July 14, 2020 at 1:28 pm

        Put up your own. You can get them Amazon, Walmart etc as little as $10

      • SiloDaDingo on August 15, 2020 at 3:38 pm

        Thank them and be grateful.

    • James C Deiman on July 26, 2020 at 4:20 pm

      By excepting FREE delivery by the USPS, you are also agreeing to the TERMS OF USE / LEASE as stated in TITLE 18 USC, SECTION 1705

  2. Barbara on November 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    If the usps “owns” my mailbox, why do I have to replace it if it is damaged. I think it is ridiculous, and to make the matters worse I recently asked a local lady who I purchased items from to leave them in MY mailbox because I wasn’t home. The local post master called her and told her if she ever left anything else in MY mailbox it would be confiscated and she would be fined. I am beyond upset about this!!!

    • Marc on September 13, 2019 at 2:37 pm

      It is because no one by law is supposed to put stuff in your mail box except a US postal carrier or a package delivery servicer since it is supposed to be US gov property. It is a safety thing as well as to be sure no one steals your mail. It’s a law that is supposed to protect you. However nothing should stop you from putting a shelf or a keyed box down below or near your mailbox for packages or mail and note drops. If you get a mail box that has a drop door and lock and key, the postal carriers cannot see what is already in the box. This is another way to get notes to you that can’t be investigated by the post servicer. If you have a package drop box down below, you can use that for personal drops as well.

      • Chels on January 19, 2020 at 12:59 am

        Only USPS is allowed access to mailboxes. Not any other delivery service. Postage must be paid for any item to be left in a US mailbox.

        • Darren on April 14, 2020 at 6:43 pm

          In my neighborhood, we have mail posts with four mailboxes on each one so it’s common that I get our neighbor’s mail from time to time. Does that mean I can’t take their mail and put it in the correct mailbox? It would seem pretty silly that it would be considered “breaking the law”.

    • Denise on September 28, 2019 at 12:11 am

      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.

      Your local Postmaster is correct!! You should not be upset. smh

      • James on April 3, 2020 at 2:03 pm

        Just because it’s the way it’s legally set up, or because the Postmaster is “correct”, does not mean Barbara should not be upset. It is entirely possible for a legal system to be stupid, and for a Postmaster to pick on a harmless neighbor lady who had a private agreement with Barbara, threatening her with fines and confiscation, is VERY stupid, and inappropriate in a free society. This is America. We shouldn’t be threatened by officials for private transactions done in good faith. Something is wrong about the system and Barbara SHOULD be upset. You shouldn’t tell her that she shouldn’t be.

        • Tim on April 16, 2020 at 7:34 am

          The Postmaster did not have a problem with Barbara making an agreement with a friend. The problem comes with Barbara giving her friend permission to use a mailbox when she has no authority to do so. Put the items on Barbara’s front or back porch, or beside her front door, or find a hiding place (and before you say those areas may not be safe for the item, the mail box is no longer safe when anyone other than the owner and the USPS use it) The mailbox is for the exclusive use of Barbara and the USPS. There is no way to protect your mail, if other people are allowed to go into your box, no matter if they are your “friends” or not. I understand that Barbara, her friend, and obviously you, are unaware of the regulations, but that doesn’t make the USPS stupid.

    • Heathear on November 23, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      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.

    • Smearski on April 12, 2020 at 7:18 pm

      Sorry, Barbara, it’s not YOUR mailbox. It belongs to the USPS, live with it.

  3. phil on June 13, 2016 at 8:09 am

    But it is not Zero cost. Someone pays for the delivery. If I have something shipped UPS, someone pays for shipping and they leave it on my porch. If I have someone send me something via USPS they still pay to ship it but then I have to provide a special place for the postal person to leave it.

  4. JoeD on July 6, 2016 at 5:49 am

    They don’t own ****. They simply regulate the use of the mailbox. I can do whatever the hell I want to the mailbox. If they owned it that would not be the case. They regulate my automobile as well but that does not mean they own it. Firearms are regulated, does not mean anyone owns them but the purchaser.

    Over-the-air TV is free too, does that mean the FCC owns my TV?

    • Marsha on July 7, 2020 at 10:53 am

      Can a POA charge me to use an established mail box located in a mail kiosk? We initially paid a key deposit. Now they changed the rules after many years stating we must now pay an annual fee. I thought once a mail box was established that it is then a free service.

      • Gabriel w/ MailBoss on July 8, 2020 at 9:41 am

        Hi Marsha, this will likely depend on your POA terms and local regulations. Do you own the mailbox, or does the POA? We are not the experts regarding legal proceedings like this, but if you do find yourself needing a new curbside or wall-mount mailbox make sure to reach back out to us!

  5. Lois on September 9, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    My 83yo, across the street, neighbor is livid because my underground lawn sprinkling system gets his 30yo metal (rusted) mailbox wet. This is now occurring after changes were recently made by the road commission after rebuilding our subdivision’s road.
    He is demanding that I “fix it” because I am breaking a federal law (ruining his mailbox.)
    Comments?

  6. Nicole on October 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Question? Can a neighbor replace your mailbox with your knowledge if it is in their yard? Is this considered tampering?

    • Patti Clinton on January 26, 2020 at 9:14 pm

      When I bought my home in a gated community with a POA (Property Owners Association), I was told USPS did NOT deliver inside the gates. There is, I was told, a mail center right outside the gates and I could buy a mailbox there to receive USPS mail. It cost $50, a one-time cost for a small box with key access. Nine years later, the POA is telling us they will be charging us an annual fee for mailboxes ($50/year for my box size). Can they legally do that when I BOUGHT my mailbox and was not renting vm it? What recourse do I have to be able to get my mail delivered, as I pay taxes to get that, at no annual cost like this? Thank you. LOTS of residents CV upset!

      • Gabriel w/ MailBoss on January 27, 2020 at 8:54 am

        Hi Patti, thanks for your comment. Being part of an HOA or POA, I suspect the area where the mailboxes are mounted are technically on the POA’s property. This will be something you have to work out with that organization, and possibly the post office. It’s also possible that the cluster/ mailboxes in that ‘mail center’ are actually USPS owned and operated. Try reaching out to your local post office on this matter. Sorry we couldn’t be of much more assistance, but that would be my best recommendations without knowing all of the specific details.

      • Dave on August 9, 2020 at 4:15 pm

        I am not a lawyer, but if you have signed paperwork that says you bought the mailbox you should see a lawyer. If the POA/HOA claims they own it and you have paperwork to the contrary it might be fraud on their part!

  7. Robert on October 7, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Can a subdivision Board publicize, inform, and conduct a vote to create uniform mailboxes within the subdivision at a properly held annual meeting of the membership? The By-laws require a simple majority vote of the membership on all matters before the board and before the membership for approval, but is each personal mailbox federal property whereby a collective affirmative vote of the membership, does not count?

  8. DaveB on November 16, 2016 at 4:18 am

    Whether some unwritten contract or the USPS simply assumes “ownership” if there is something in MY mailbox then it should be assumed to be mine. As long as it isn’t hiding something detrimental to a carriers well being ( poisonous animal, explosive etc ) the carrier should have ZERO right to remove anything but a stamped addressed envelope ( addressed to a different address) or something noted “For postal carrier” might be a thank you, Christmas card, small gift etc. Ive asked people to leave things in my mailbox, just leave my stuff alone

  9. Russell on December 14, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Saying that Post Office delivery service is free is nuts. They get paid by someone paying them to deliver mail by stamps. If they had nowhere to deliver the mail, there would not need to be a post office delivery service, just a huge warehouse in every city with thousands of little boxes that they would have to pay for! Can you imagine the lines. If delivery service is free, where does the money come from for trucks, bags, post persons, gas, dog lawsuits, upkeep of delivery vehicles? Do you wonder with stamps don’t cost 4 cents anymore?

    • Article reader on October 2, 2019 at 5:01 am

      Read the article. Did not say it was free. It said it doesn’t cost to receive mail but to pick up mail or receive information delivery does cost.

  10. celia salzman on April 6, 2017 at 10:47 pm

    If the mailboxes are federal property, why do I have restrictions from a Home Owners Association to affix a special mailbox that fits into their criteria?
    If my new mailbox fits the criteria that is listed, why to I have to purchase a specifically designed mailbox.?

  11. Stacy on April 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    USPS gets no government money to run its operation, its completely funded by the sale of stamps and postage.

  12. Phil on June 6, 2017 at 5:49 am

    Stacy they do get money from the government
    It seems to work like a loan they need to pay back. I believe the treasury gives them the billions they need but they claim it costs more money to deliver mail door to door than it would to have centralized mail boxes. You can look all this up on the net.

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:18 pm

      wrong

  13. Tony on July 22, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    My neighbor ripped my mailbox out of his yard today and destroyed it. Is this against the law and what charges could I press against him?

    • Rene on September 27, 2019 at 12:27 am

      I would LOVE to know the answer to this!!!!

    • John Baker on February 26, 2020 at 5:45 am

      Why was your mailbox in his yard?

  14. c on July 25, 2017 at 9:13 am

    The USPS is not “completely” self funded and hasn’t been for a long time. Don’t kid yourself, they lose a lot of tax dollars every year and have for a long time.

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:19 pm

      wrong

    • Article reader on October 2, 2019 at 5:11 am

      Read the article. Did not say it was free. It said it doesn’t cost to receive mail but to pick up mail or receive information delivery does cost.

  15. Pat on August 3, 2017 at 7:01 pm

    18 US code 1705 sites a violation for 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.

    Nowhere in the LAW does it claim or state that the mail box is owned by the USPS. For them to deliver it has to be approved. If someone is inferring that the USPS owns my box due to a law covering damages then the state owns my auto if there is a law covering damages to it by someone and that is not true.

  16. Tracy on August 10, 2017 at 7:40 am

    I have a mailbox that is in the same place as it was when I bought the property 22 years ago. It was put there years before because the carrier didn’t want to deliver down our private association gravel road. The owner has passed away and the new owner wants me to move my mailbox supposedly to put a driveway in. Is this legal or bullying? Do I have any rights?

    • Article reader on October 2, 2019 at 5:06 am

      You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney and to have that attorney with you during questioning. If you so desire and cannot afford one an attorney will be provided at no cost.

    • Jennifer quinn on December 4, 2019 at 4:13 pm

      No ur mail box is place where it needs to be and if they want to lay a new drive way then they have to work around it no one can make u move anything . Call ur postmaster for your city and they will tell you what needs to be done and let them know they need to do the same .

  17. Is it illegal to paint a collective mailboxJean Martin MAH ER in a condominium complex on August 16, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    Is it illegal to paint a collective mailbox in a condominium complex

  18. Brendan on December 2, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    I live in a rural town in RI and the USPS just notified us that they will no longer deliver to our house due to the conditions of the road. They informed us that we can place our mailbox across the entrance to our street, however the neighbor near that property claims it is his property. Can we still place our mailbox there or since we were informed to do so by the USPS?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      by law you can in the easement area…most put them on neighbors property line…ask you local usps office to talk to the neighbor…you will be required to upkeep the box on the neighbors property not them

    • Jennifer on December 4, 2019 at 4:18 pm

      No not true they own the land but they do not own the part of the land that is next to the road there is a section that is city own . To use are they need that would include that part of land . Where the city have drains city water running to the land they own . That is why the they told u to place it there . If you still have a problem call the post master he can help u take care of this problem and get ur mailbox placed where it needs to be . No one by law can tell you what they are say to you .

  19. Linda on December 11, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    We have had a mail box in front of our house for 20 years. We have never used it because we have a box at the post office. Can I have my paper delivery person start putting our morning newspaper into it?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      no..they make an additional you can hang under your box for that or make it yourself

  20. Filou on December 22, 2017 at 5:48 am

    Hello everyone, my landlord (who lives in Hong Kong) take out my name from the mailbox and the intercom and I am having troubles receiving my mails and packages. Is he legally allowed to do that? Many thanks in advance to anyone who would have some advice in this regards as this has become a major nuisance.

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:23 pm

      no….unless you broke the lease or don;t leave there anymore

    • Jennifer on December 4, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      No call the police and place ur name back on the box or u can just get a P.O. Box .

  21. Rebecca Freeman on December 29, 2017 at 6:42 am

    In a situation where 8 condos share the same mailbox, one man owns 6 of the condos. He took down the mailbox in the process of changing some landscaping. His condos are only rented out for 1 to 7 nights at a time. The two units he doesn’t own are rented for several months at a time. Could he be fined by the post office for failing to put the mailbox back up?

  22. Addison on January 15, 2018 at 7:55 pm

    I purchased a home in June. There was a mailbox that was used by the previous owners with our street number on it. Two weeks from our settlement we noticed our neighbor removed the name and changed the numbers on the mailbox to his address. What do you recommend we do?

  23. jack palmer on March 2, 2018 at 7:14 am

    We own a apartment complex that has the mailboxes just inside of the entrance of each corridor. These mailboxes
    Were installed in 1972, and are needing minor repair but they were installed and owned by the postal service. Keys have to be purchased at the post office. It is our understanding that our service personnel can not repair them.

    Is the location and maintenance of these mailboxes a responsibility of the post office?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:24 pm

      apt owner is responsible

  24. Mike on March 11, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    So if the mail receptacle is the Fed Govts, but it is on my property that I paid for and continue to pay taxes on, shouldn’t the Fed Govt be paying me rent for storing their receptacle on my property? Which would also beg to inquire if they are going to pay me back the over $300 that I paid for said receptacle, since it is said to be owned by them? First paragraph of this article says “it is effectively considered Federal Property”. I believe a refund and past due rent is owed to me.

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      good one but no….next try getting back your 1/10th of a cent on the gas selling for 2.29 9/10 in your area

  25. Collette W. Bernard on April 7, 2018 at 8:46 am

    I see “decorated mailboxes” even some with religious messages on them..some that are wrap around adhevise applied, others are hand painted. Is any of this against the law?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:28 pm

      decorate away…as long as public code of decency not violated in your community or deed restrictions

  26. John on April 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Am I permitted to decorate my mailbox since it is federal property? For example, for the Christmas holiday, am I legally and federally permitted to put a garland/bow on it to tie it in with the rest of our exterior house decorations? The decorations do not interfere with the deliver person’s delivery process (i.e., can still easily open door, put down flag, etc.).

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:27 pm

      decorate away…as long as public code of decency not violated in your community

  27. Dave W on April 14, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    My neighbor built a new house and he put his new mailbox almost directly across from my driveway. He’s made it difficult for me to get out of my driveway in my own vehicle and impossible for septic tank trucks or the propane truck to get out of my driveway. When he was building the house he agreed to move the mailbox about ten feet further down the cul de sac and that would clear my driveway. He said he doesn’t want to put the box on his side of the driveway b/c he wants access to back up his RV into his driveway. It doesn’t seem fair that all the mail trucks and ups trucks can only turn right. The road is only wide enough for one vehicle at a time. If the road had been a two lane road it would have been okay. Who do I contact to get him to move his mailbox?

  28. Rachel a Parker on April 15, 2018 at 5:34 am

    We have a quartz company just up the roads from us who’s trucks keep running down our mailbox, we have replaced mailbox 5 or 6 times in the last 5 yrs. And are really tired of it! Is this company liable for damages? All we want is for them to replace said mailbox when it has been destroyed buy their big trucks..

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:29 pm

      yes they are

  29. Pete on April 28, 2018 at 1:28 pm

    I’m a real estate developer and install group mailboxes required by the local postmaster. In one city we develope in the Postmaster is trying to make our company give out the keys to new homeowners. In other cities we deliver the locks and keys to the Postmaster and they take it from there. Does a Postmaster have the authority to make me responsible for giving keys to new homeowners?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      if the community is assuming upkeep to the boxes yes you do have the responsibility…

  30. Mike Casey on May 3, 2018 at 2:25 pm

    I am a local contractor i put a hand written bill in a customers mail box. The post office took it out put it in a envelop and put it in mine three days later. (I wonder why the USPS is not making any money). So i called the post master they told me they own the inside of the mailbox and no one but them can put anything in it. The single dumbest thing someone from the government has ever said!

  31. Steve Charles on June 16, 2018 at 8:20 pm

    Can my mail carrier write on the outside of my mailbox? Thanks

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      no….what are they writing? if it;s your address it has to be on the box tho

  32. Matthew Bean on August 1, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    OK let’s be clear here, nobody is getting mail delivered for FREE and therefore would constitute a “lease” of my mailbox to the USPS. Any mail delivered was paid for by someone to have it delivered to a certain location meaning it is not free but rather the USPS is doing what they were paid to do. Postal employees have gone from Pony Express and neither rain, sleet or snow could stop them to a bunch of lazy government employees that won’t even get out of their vehicle if someone has blocked a mailbox. This is why your going broke, the UPS and FedEx carriers come to my door and ring the bell with a smile on their faces. I personally believe dissolving the USPS and contract it out to commercial providers would be a blessing. You have sealed your own fate!!

  33. Laurie Hart on August 9, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Removing stuff from my mailbox without my permission is theft. I am very upset that items in my mailbox without postage were confiscated. My neighbors should be able to leave items in the box for me to retrieve. It has absolutely no effect on thier mail delivery. Not sure why the USPS believes they have the right to confiscate. What law/regulation allows them to do so?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 1:32 pm

      read the law….it is written…only mail with proper postage is allowed in your box…differing opinion. please contact your congressman…

  34. Michelle Wilson on August 10, 2018 at 6:48 am

    Hi, my front yard is shaded by oak trees causing it impossible to grow grass. Bought ten bushes/trees and seeded area with flower seeds. Surroundings area with g
    18″ garden fence because of dogs, children or anyone. Why I want a nice front yard at my best and they cost me my personal money. Area only covers small area of yard. All sidewalk, driveway and patio/mailbox are in great condition. The mail carrier walks over garden fence for me to find flat plants, fence bent, small bush flat & dead, mud on my patio from their shoes. Called post office to be advised they could walk anywhere on my property. Don’t understand with nice sidewalk, driveway and patio what’s the problem with them? Being a single senior citizen my little garden brings me pleasure. Why are they allowed to destroy my garden and be disrespectful to a senior woman?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      Carrier is supposed to leave the area they way they found it…if you are describing accurately your property with free access without going thru flower bed then carrier needs to avoid it…depending on the route type and description, yes carriers are supposed to make the most efficient means of travel to the next delivery, even if it means walking on the grass…if a customer desires one not to cross grass or carrier deems it unsafe due to problems, which a supervisor should verify, then the carrier stays off it…you need to escalate your concerns to next level thru 1800 ask usps with customer complaint or contact the regional consumer affairs unit of usps in your district which is easily found online…the issues put thru this way are sent in hard copy to the offices with a satisfactory response and answer to the customer and copied to district and washington..failure to close these issues and not addressed properly by your local office create problems for that management and are reviewed and held accountable…this option is available to any posters here but remember…the correct answer may not be the one you want to hear always…if it seems stupid address it again to consumer affairs or the 1800# and ask to be contacted by someone other than your local office for explanation…in the offices i worked as a carrier, clerk and management, we used common sense along with the rules to fix a situation as best as possible…if we didn’t know the answer, we went and found it and called our customers back…i know that is not always the case in every office…we hire humans as does any other business or work place and the individuality and personal agendas may interfere with rules, common sense and the right way to work with the situation and customers and our workforce….thank you….would love to see your flower bed…always enjoyed a customer who took pride in their homes …enjoy your day!!!

  35. Dennis Hanks on September 18, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    If your box is getting covered by an aggressive bush for lack of identity and it’s not your property, (the box has to be on the right side depending on mail route) who’s responsibility is it to get rid of the bushes?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm

      the homeowner should take care of it..your carrier has forms to leave and notify the customer to fix…call your local post office for help or use the info on the above post to escalate it…without customers, we have no product to really sell,..we are basically a service..

  36. Howard on October 3, 2018 at 8:18 am

    This is completely incorrect. A privately purchased and installed mailbox remains the property of the purchaser. HOWEVER, Federal statues and regulation protect and regulate what one can, and cannot do with that property. This is no different that an automobile – when an individual purchases a car, the car is the property of the individual. The vehicle does NOT effectively become govertnment property just because you drive it on a city, county, state or federally funded roadway. However, all of those entities have power to regulate what you do, and cannot do, with your vehicle while on the road.

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      you are basically correct in your thought…the usps does not own your box as stated….it is to be used for the sole purpose of mail delivery and retrival…customers are responsible for proper installation per codes of usps and local govt and its upkeep…private items left in the box for the owners needs to unfortunately have postage on it…think of all the flyers people would be stuffing in your box if was allowed…as for packages left there for owner without postage, safety is the issue in todays world…all packages are basically scanned for danger…

  37. Kathy LaFollette on November 2, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    My neighbor has his mail box covered with political stickers. How can this be legal. It is like the federal government taking a position.

  38. Ang on November 15, 2018 at 6:41 am

    My mail carrier keeps writing my house numbers on my mailbox with Big Black magic marker. the first time it happened they denied doing it so I scrubbed It Off it took over 30 minutes with a scratcher alcohol to get it to be removed. now they’ve done it again in the same sloppy handwriting on the front of my mailbox and it looks awful. This time the carrier admitted to doing it but his manager says that it’s his right to write the house numbers on my mailbox however he chooses, even though my house numbers are displayed clearly on my house directly behind my mailbox, at this point I just want the mail carrier to take his time and effort to remove the permanent marker from my mailbox and I will apply numbers and a classy manner so that they are there but the manager at USPS says it’s not their responsibility to fix it? What are my rights here?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:10 pm

      the local office should have contacted you the 1st time it was noticed the numbers were not there…the carrier does have available to them to notify you of the need for a visible # on the box…ample and reasonable time should have been given to you to do it…you should have also contacted them to find out what you needed to do to correct it…as a courtesy the local usps office should have personnel sent to remove it with the guarantee you fix it properly asap with the numbers…

    • mm on December 27, 2019 at 5:46 pm

      Buy a piece of magnet, and place 1.25 inch high numbers on it (one inch is minimum height) and call it a day

  39. Mary Lou Dolinsky on December 10, 2018 at 6:20 pm

    I live in Minnesota and we have 3 mailboxes on a post with not a lot of room to put the flags up. The post needs to be replaced as well as the 3 mailboxes. Who is responsible for taking care of this?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      the homeowners are responsible…or if in a deed restricted community, the homeowners association or the property owners…if they installed all the boxes in the community alike then it is def the homeowners or property managers…if it is individual homeowners then they need to replace

  40. Toni W. on December 14, 2018 at 2:41 pm

    There is a website that outlines requirements for mail receptacles. It is called the domestic mail manual. Also, the post office does NOT receive ANY tax dollars, ever. Receiving mail is a privilege not a right. You still get mail even if you never send any. Restrictions placed on mailboxes are to help with delivery standards and keeping costs down. If everyone could use whatever they wanted and place mailboxes wherever that wanted, delivery would cost a lot more because you made extra steps for the mail carrier. Remember, you only check ONE mailbox, they go to hundreds per day.

  41. Amanda on January 13, 2019 at 7:32 am

    What can one hang on their mailbox?
    Can a neighbor hang a spandex stuffed with something with a g string wearing high heels?

    It looks like the bottom half of a body bending over ( to get into the mailbox).

  42. Linda on February 14, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Bought a mailbox had it installed on side of road as advices by postal employee. I was later advices my box was going to be relocated for road work for about a year. Okay. I had to travel a farther distance to retrieve my mail. Last week mailman stopped me to let me know I could now move my box to front of my home and mail deliver to my home????. He stopped by to tell me my mailbox had been removed and destroyed.?. Never was told there was a time frame. I live on a set income, my box was bought last year, and now need another one. Why can STATE send a notice.

  43. Joe on February 23, 2019 at 10:35 am

    Our Association has two pairs of mailbox ‘clusters’, and each cluster has a box in the top left corner with a slot to drop outgoing mail, for a total of 4. We would like to re-purpose one of those outgoing boxes so that residents can drop non-stamped Association fees through the slot, and the USPS can deliver mail to the same box through the back. This box, and the remaining 3 outgoing boxes, would be clearly labeled as such. Our regular USPS deliverer would be fine with it as well, but he wanted me to call the post office to make sure it would be ok. I did so, and they said no outgoing box could be used for anything else. You’ve also indicated that only paid postage envelopes can go in a mailbox. What statute stipulates this? What’s the harm in re-purposing one of our 4 outgoing boxes?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:16 pm

      the federal laws and DMM stipulate the rules governing cluster boxes…they act like an individual box as single customers has…re-purposing wouldn’t be allowed under todays rules….not sure how you would escalate this…but it would def take time…the homeowners association could possible put on the wall there a locked box for dues drop off etc that is properly marked not for usps use…

  44. Kevin on February 25, 2019 at 1:03 pm

    When living in a condo association do they have the right to have the key to your mailbox

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:18 pm

      if the condo association is responsible for handing out keys to access, they will likely keep a key for future copying if present customer loses it…they do not have the right to use the key anytime…that becomes a us postal inspector issue

  45. Billy on March 16, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    I believe the “it’s federal property” of a mailbox is due (in part) to the legal definition of littering. 90-95% of my mail these days (2019) is junk/bulk. A complete waste of resources and I put it in the recycling bin without opening, even the ones that disguise themselves as “Important: Open Immediately” crap. Now, that is technically garbage, i.e. litter. If they were to throw that on your driveway, like one of those free advert-only “papers” then that would be littering subject to fine; instead, they place it in their “federally leased mailbox” which is not littering. Check and mate.

  46. Laura on June 10, 2019 at 8:46 am

    I live in a rural/ residential area, my mail box which has been at it’s current location for almost 40 yrs, is curbside on county property. also, it is directly above the driveway of a neighbor building a new home. The neighbor wants us to move our mailbox, which we do not want to. There is a split in the road and stop sign directly I front of our home, making this unsafe for the postman to stop any where else. The postmaster has verbally told me that we do not have to move the mailbox. But the neighbor has just told us that he is acquiring a “permit” to do so anyways. is this legal? or possible? And if he does so, what legal recourse do I have?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      would have to see a picture of the area…if needed you may have to move it to the property line in easement area which no one can deny you…if safety is an issue it takes precedence..but would have to see a picture here.please…40 years ago is different from now and sometimes the current arrangement needs to be addressed…a permit to move by him..never heard it…sounds like just talk…good luck with the neighbor in future dealings

  47. mike holabird on June 23, 2019 at 8:30 am

    I’ve tried for a span of 2-1/2 years to get my post office to fix our cluster box. It was vandalized by a young boy. Parents of the boy did nothing. it was spray painted black over several areas. it looks horrible! it has been beaten with a steel bar, the partial box locks don’t work. I’ve called consumer complaints at the usps regionally, and nationally. they all took my info with promises to get back to me on a plan. no response! i had the same result with the local post master i could at least repaint the unit, but the legality of doing it seems unclear. open to ideas. thanks mike.

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:23 pm

      who owners the cluster box…the community or homeowners association or the usps is responsible for upkeep? please make certain…it should be in your deeds…and the local post office should have on file clusters they ‘own’ and clusters owned by the community/homeowners….if it is usps, and no help which i am befuddled by your above contacts you did, escalate to local congressman, please

  48. Sheila on July 26, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Hi,
    Regarding federal jurisdiction over mail boxes, under federal law Title 18 Section 1705. Does this extend to the area around the mail box for the protection of the mail carrier and mail recipient. For example, if a mail carrier was attacked in the area of the mail box, is this a crime under federal jurisdiction or state jurisdiction? What about an attack on the mail recipient getting their mail, is this a crime under federal jurisdiction or state jurisdiction?

    • clyde kadinklehoffer on September 12, 2019 at 2:25 pm

      federal state and local laws protect an attack on the carrier…customer’s are def protected under state and local…federal would depend on the situation and would need to be addressed by local authorities

  49. Gabriel w/ MailBoss on September 18, 2019 at 10:12 pm

    Hi all, please bare with us while we are in the middle of building out our new website. Some of the comments and replies appear to be missing from our upload. Please be patient while we get these all processed and displayed, and if you have any specific questions that you cant seem to sort out, as always, please direct them to info@mailboss.com

  50. Pamela Jewell on December 9, 2019 at 7:41 pm

    The mail delivery person is telli g my handicapped tenant that if she doesnt move the mailbox to the street from where I had it placed just inside the driveway because she has Multiole Scerosus, heart issues, and COPD. She toddlers when she walks. There has already been a death of a teenager riding his bike on our busy street in the past, and the mailbox on the acreage that used to be our mailbox has been hit and is no longer there. Also we have a mailbox further down the street for the other side if the property on the street and a d the mail carrier drops the mail for 217 Krenek at 225 Krenek. I personally think the carrier person has changed and is not being g considerate of this soon to be 73 year old woman who is handicapped. Isnt there a handicap provision for mailboxes on the street to be placed in a safer retrieval location? I read up on ADA but ha e found this issue specifically yet.

    • Postal Clerk on January 12, 2020 at 1:48 am

      She needs to apply for a hardship. Mail boxes aren’t moved just because someone says it is too difficult to get the mail. There needs to be appropriate documentation from their doctor.

  51. Jack on December 15, 2019 at 6:56 am

    Your private mailbox belongs to you. It is not federal property. Full stop. However, Federal law protects your mailbox and its contents.

  52. Steve on March 5, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Can I put a hanging flyer on the outside of a mailbox? Like hanging off the red flag?

    • Gabriel w/ MailBoss on March 11, 2020 at 8:21 am

      Hi Steve, thanks for your comment. If it’s on your own mailbox, you might be able to do so… but I wouldn’t go around placing items on other people’s mailboxes, as it is for stamped mail by US mail delivery service only. If the residence has a newspaper holder, that might be an appropriate place to leave a flyer. Good luck!

  53. Jim H on March 23, 2020 at 8:34 am

    I recently became a board member of our HOA. We have an outdoor cluster mailbox kiosk with a concrete pad and a roof. Our HOA maintains the kiosk and recently re-roofed it. The county owns the land and maintains the road surface surrounding the kiosk. In renewing our D & O insurance policy, the ownership and potential liability of ownership came up. How should we, as directors list the mailbox kiosk in the insurance application?

    Thanks

    Jim H

  54. Irving on April 10, 2020 at 11:03 am

    I removed my two mailboxes. I don’t accept mail anymore. The mailman broke them by jamming tons of circulars and junk mail. Good riddance.

  55. Tim on May 1, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Not all Federal laws make sense to the average citizen. If USPS wants to dictate what’s allowed in box, let them purchase, install, and maintain it. Last time I checked, my $50.00 paid for it along with installing and maintaining it; not USPS.

    In the big scope of things, it’s not a big deal but is definitely an annoyance. Call congressman to ask this nonsense to be changed but that will prob go nowhere. They have bigger issues.

  56. Bob on May 15, 2020 at 6:37 am

    All mailboxes on my street used to be located on my side. Most homeowners on the street have moved their mailboxes to their side of the street in front of each of their homes. The two neighbors across the street have not keeping them in my front yard. One house sold and the new neighbor stated they were not getting mail and then allowed their young daughter to paint the box blue and the post bright yellow so people would be able to find it. It looks terrible and not the aesthetic we’re going for on our property. Question, can they legally paint this on my property? What recourse do I have. Trying to understand so in my discussion with homeowner I can properly frame my positioning. Appreciate any thoughts.

  57. Samantha on June 3, 2020 at 6:54 am

    I live on a dead end road. It’s about 1/4 miles. The West part of the street the neighbors get to have their boxes on their property. The East part half to have theirs on a clustered spot. The neighbor whose property they are on has theirs on the West 1/2. (The East neighbors are on his property, but his box isn’t with theirs)
    There is weeds, in front of the boxes. Plus large bushes with over hangs in the back of boxes.
    Whose should be the ones that maintain the area around the boxes?

    • Gabriel w/ MailBoss on June 3, 2020 at 11:44 am

      Hi Samantha, thanks for your inquiry. This will depend on your local laws and regulations, as the city or county may actually own the roadside/ curbside property at the edge of the road. I would try reaching out to your city and neighbors, and maybe try to find the property boundaries on that area? Best of luck!

  58. Sarah on July 6, 2020 at 4:20 pm

    Can an HOA paint mailboxes any color of their liking? If they can’t where can I find the federal law that prohibits it and who do I contact to have it taken care of?

    • Gabriel w/ MailBoss on July 7, 2020 at 9:34 am

      Hi Sarah, that is going to depend on whose mailboxes they are! I don’t know of any rules prohibiting the decoration or repainting of mailboxes by their owner, though this could perhaps depend on your local jurisdiction! If you actually own the mailbox you are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of that unit.

  59. M on August 8, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    I have a friend who has a shared mailbox. She and other residents all use one large community mailbox. No one has ever had any issues until this one lady moved in. She takes it upon herself to go through everyone’s mail, and decide if that person lives there or not. She has now removed everyone’s mail and held onto it, because she wanted to make sure there was enough room for a package that she was expecting, and then will replace the mail in the box. She insists that it’s perfectly legal. I don’t think so.

  60. Danley B Wolfe PhD, MBA on August 19, 2020 at 9:02 am

    The article doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Federal law says that you own the box, it’s yours. Because it is used for servicing US mail the federal government regulates how it is used. It ‘s more like you owning your car but requiring you to meet the legal requirements to drive and maintain it. The federal government does not “own” your mailbox. US code Title 18 Ch. 83 Postal Service, e.g., Section 1705. It does not say the federal government “owns” the box. The USPS has written its rules of the road that specifies how the box is used. https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/508.htm#ep1051804.
    For one, you cannot affix anything to the mailbox. You cannot use the mailbox for anything other than postage bearing mail… that rules out e.g., service providers doing driveby’s and putting their flyers and business cards inside; and having your daily newspaper inserted into the mailbox, unless it is “sent through the mail.”

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