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Top Tenant Mail Concerns and How to Address Them

Problems and Solutions

If you have a multifamily property such as an apartment complex, or a commercial property that contains multiple businesses or offices, chances are excellent that you will also manage the mailboxes. You likely have some sort of centralized mailbox system, but perhaps you rely on curbside mailboxes, or your centralized mail system needs an update.

Or perhaps your tenants are having issues with receiving and sending mail. As the property owner or manager, you’ll be responsible for addressing these issues, which is an important part of preventing the dreaded tenant turnover and its costs.

Here are some common tenant mail concerns and how to address them:

1: Mail Theft. No one likes having mail stolen, which can lead to issues such as lost revenue, data breaches, and missing packages.

Why It Occurs: Mail theft happens when mailboxes aren’t secure, or packages are left in vulnerable areas such as on doorsteps, in front of apartment doors, or in mail rooms. Because mailboxes that get USPS delivery must be accessible 24/7, these boxes are particularly vulnerable to theft.

What You Can Do: First, look at your mailbox setup. Chances are that one or more of these issues is making mail and package theft more likely on your property:

  • Outdated mailboxes
  • Mailboxes that do not lock
  • Not enough lighting by your mailboxes
  • Mailboxes are in too obscure of an area
  • Lack of parcel lockers or a secure area for packages

If you use outdated centralized mailboxes or curbside mailboxes, you’re more likely to have your mail stolen or damaged. This is because older, centralized mailboxes don’t meet the new USPS 4C standards that are more secure and durable than mailboxes of the past. Curbside mailboxes are near the road, and many models don’t lock. If you use door slots on your property, these won’t be big enough to accommodate anything but the smallest packages, leaving the USPS or other delivery person no choice but to leave packages on doorsteps.

Consider upgrading your mailboxes to either locking, curbside mailboxes or 4C centralized mailboxes, if you’re getting direct USPS delivery. There are also options for private delivery if a third party is delivering. Centralized mailboxes usually come with parcel lockers to safely hold packages until the customer picks them up, reducing the chance of package theft.

Install your mailboxes in a well-lit centralized or front-facing area such as a front parking lot, building lobby, or other location that’s easy to watch, and easy for both customers and anyone making deliveries to find.

2: An Unsafe or Unsecure Mailbox Area. Checking the mail or picking up packages should be a safe and easy experience for everyone. If you’re receiving complaints about lights being out near your mailboxes, or ice, or obstructions, you’ll need to address this issue immediately.

Why It Occurs: Mailbox areas must be safe to access, well-lit, and free of obstructions such as vehicles and other items that can block access. Mailboxes that receive USPS delivery must also never be behind a locked door and should be on ground level.

Obstructions can include uneven surfaces, cracked surfaces, loose wires, and snow or ice that can lead to slipping and falling. You may also have an obstruction if your mailbox area isn’t ADA compliant.

What You Can Do: Ensure at least three feet of space in front of each mailbox, no matter which type you use. For curbside mailboxes, ensure that your mailbox is on the same side of the road as all others, and stands about six to eight inches back from the curb or roadside. Provide wheelchair ramps if necessary and be sure to keep your mailbox area clear during the winter. Fix any burnt-out lighting promptly.

3: Lost Mail, Disorganized Mail, or Mail That Is Difficult to Pick Up. Lost or disorganized mail is more likely if you have a mailroom on your property, either for gathering mail for the USPS or for private (in-house) delivery. If your mailroom isn’t open 24/7, some tenants (or college students) may have difficulty picking up packages during business hours.

Why It Occurs: Busy mailrooms, especially those that are too small and contain a lot of packages, are prone to human error if there’s no good sorting system in place. It can also occur if a landlord collects all mail for tenants and them distributes it privately.

Another issue is mailrooms only open during business hours. Tenants who are working or in class during that time may not be able to pick up mail as often as they’d like, leading to a cramped, confusing space.

What You Can Do: Mail sorters are designed to organize mail in such settings, and mail hampers and collection bins can also help to collect outgoing mail in one easy place. If you need more space in your mailroom, consider investing in centralized, locking mailboxes for private delivery, and install them in a location that’s always accessible. Parcel lockers are also available for packages.

Collection boxes can also collect outgoing mail in one place and are best used in an outdoor setting.

4: Mailbox Damage. Mailboxes can get damaged, which can lead to mail delivery stopping, mail theft, and broken locks.

Why It Occurs: Some mailbox types are more prone to damage than others—especially curbside mailboxes, which often see vandalism and vehicle damage. Older centralized mailboxes and vertical mailboxes are less sturdy than their newer counterparts and can also see wear and damage.

What You Can Do: You’ll need to repair any damage promptly as the property owner or manager. Sometimes repairs are simple—replacing a broken lock or door, for instance. But at other times, you must replace the entire mailbox.

If repairs are taking up too much time and money, consider upgrading your mailboxes to a centralized system that’s far less likely to get damaged.

Looking to Upgrade and Solve Your Mail Woes? National Mailboxes is here to help. If you have questions about how best to solve your mail issues, contact us today.