When it comes to running a condo community or managing a retirement community, there are a lot of factors to consider. Mobility, convenience, and safety all come into the equation. After all, tenants consider safety one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing where to live.
Mailboxes can contribute to all three factors, and they can often make or break an entire community. When mail theft happens and checking the mail becomes inconvenient and unsafe, residents are less likely to stay for another lease term. The cost of replacing a tenant can be high, and it is better to retain residents rather than find new ones.
The right mailboxes, however, can help to retain residents for many years to come and can also be easy for property owners to maintain. This guide will help you choose the right mailbox type for your condo community or your retirement village.
Multi-Family Curbside Mailboxes
In such communities, two mailbox types are common: curbside mailboxes and centralized, 4C mailboxes.
Curbside mailboxes work well in many condo communities, since they can come as multi-family units where multiple customer compartments share one or two posts. These mailboxes are designed to serve two to eight homes each and may work well in a community that has short streets, where curb space is available, and where residents do not want to walk any distance to check their mail.
These mailbox types are attractive and have an advantage over single curbside mailboxes. Since customer mail compartments are consolidated into fewer units, this means less maintenance by condo owners, homeowners associations, and property managers. Installing such mailboxes instead of single curbside mailboxes for each home will also take up less time.
However, it is the property owner’s responsibility to keep the areas around these mailboxes clean and safe during the entire year. This means keeping all mailboxes free of obstructions, snow, and other hazards so that USPS delivery does not stop.
The good news is that curbside mailboxes have a high potential to add to the curb appeal of any community. Often, these types come in different colors, styles, and finishes. Mailboxes that match the palette of a condo community or retirement village can be easily found, and accessories can be added to further enhance the look and attractiveness of the community.
Centralized Mail Delivery for Condos and Retirement Communities
Sometimes, curb space is not available, or there may not be enough resources to install multiple curbside boxes. Or there may be a convenient, centralized location such as a clubhouse or lobby where residents can easily check their mail.
In this case, a form of centralized mail delivery may be installed and used. For direct USPS delivery, only the 4C mailboxes may be installed. If someone in the community will be distributing mail to each resident after USPS delivery, other mailbox types may be chosen, such as vertical, 4B wall-mounted mailboxes.
Typically, 4C mailboxes can be installed directly onto concrete slabs, into walls, or mounted onto them using a rack system. These mailboxes can stand indoors or outdoors, as 4C mailboxes are very durable and resistant to theft and tampering. They have horizontal customer compartments and typically include parcel lockers for handling packages and preventing mail theft.
The best locations for these mailboxes are those that are easy to access, either by walking or from a parking lot. It is important to provide shelter from the elements as well, and good lighting for those who may be visually impaired or have other sensory impairments.
Again, it is the responsibility of the property manager to ensure the area around these mailboxes is clear and safe.
Many times, 4C mailboxes are installed into kiosks, lobbies, or clubhouses to shield them from weather and keep the area attractive. Freestanding models usually stand outdoors, near a sidewalk or a parking lot, allowing residents to drive to pick up their mail. However, they will still need to exit their vehicles to check the mail, so it is important to provide some shelter from the elements here as well.
Consider: How Far Can Residents Walk?
A general rule of thumb is that no resident of any community should have to walk more than one city block to check their mail. However, such a distance may be inconvenient or difficult for some, and this is important to consider when choosing and installing mailboxes.
If many residents have mobility issues and cannot walk far, it may be worth placing mailboxes very close to parking, such as in a kiosk or in a front lobby. Freestanding mailboxes can be placed near sidewalks, so long as the area is kept clean and free of all hazards, including ice.
When choosing centralized mail delivery, the ADA must be followed to ensure that all residents, regardless of disability, have access to their mail. Ramps should be included near any mailboxes for access, and it is recommended to have three feet of space in front of each customer compartment to allow for wheelchair access.
Compartment height is important as well. All customer compartments must be between 28 and 67 inches from the ground or floor height, and at least one customer compartment needs to be at 48 inches high or below. All parcel lockers can be no lower than 15 inches. However, all 4C mailboxes are built so that property managers can easily meet these requirements.
Multi-family mailboxes may work well for low-mobility residents as well, as residents will need less travel in order to check their mail. In many cases, they may be able to check mail directly from their vehicles. Curbside mailboxes must stand between 41 and 45 inches high, however, and stand 6 to 8 inches back from the road.
Get Started Today
A lot goes into managing a community, and mailboxes should not complicate the effort. To choose the right mailbox for your community today, contact us with any questions you may have and to get started.