If you own or manage an apartment building, you’ve likely heard horror stories about stolen mail or damaged mailboxes. As a result, you may wonder which mailbox type is the best for your apartment complex.
This may be especially true if you manage a smaller apartment complex, or don’t have space for a centralized mailbox system. Perhaps your building only houses a dozen tenants, which isn’t unusual. Over half of all apartment buildings only have five to nineteen units.
If this is the case, investing in systems with parcel lockers and many locking compartments may be cost prohibitive, and you may be looking into more affordable solutions. Generally, these are wall-mounted collection boxes and door slots.
First, Look at Your Current Setup. Before choosing the right type of mailboxes for your residents, you’ll need to take inventory.
First, how many tenants will you serve, and can you easily expand should you build or add more units? Are some tenants housed so close together that they could share a set of wall-mounted mailboxes, or would it be easier to use door slots?
Another factor is the mobility of your tenants. Some cannot easily walk to another location, or outdoors, to check mail.
Also, it’s a good idea to look at your wall space, indoor and outdoor, and whether your tenants would be safe walking to that wall during all weather conditions to check their mail. Avoid placing mailboxes above uneven or unstable ground, and in locations exposed to adverse conditions.
One more less common factor to look at is whether you already have wall-mounted, vertical mailboxes. These mailboxes are taller than they are wide and are generally locking. If you are replacing vertical mailboxes because they’re worn or old, you can swap out older vertical mailboxes for newer units of the exact same type, so long as they’re in the same location as the old boxes. Otherwise, you cannot purchase vertical, wall-mounted mailboxes for USPS delivery.
If you are doing a significant remodel of the area, you must replace your vertical mailboxes with a type of USPS-approved horizontal mailbox or door slots.
Consider the Benefits and Drawbacks of Wall-Mounted Mailboxes. Horizontal wall mounted mailboxes are currently approved by the USPS for new installations. These mailboxes are wider than they are tall, and they lock, keeping resident mail safe. They are also more resistant to tampering than older models.
These aluminum boxes come with 1 to 7 doors inside each sturdy cabinet, allowing property managers to install secure mail delivery for small numbers of tenants. Each tenant receives a key, and the postal service is able to access all mailboxes at once.
Some of these wall-mounted mailboxes come with locking parcel lockers for smaller packages. Delivery is simple: a customer receives a key to access the locker when a package gets delivered. In fact, you’ll need one parcel locker per every five customer compartments when installing new wall-mounted mailboxes in an apartment complex to follow USPS regulations.
For smaller apartment complexes, you may only need one to three of these units to cover all tenant mail needs, or one or two of these units installed per building. Tenants also look at safety when deciding whether to renew a lease and stopping mail theft can lead to greater tenant retention and lower costs.
Wall-mounted mailboxes are easy to install and make the postal service’s job go quicker. The potential drawbacks can be cost, which tends to run higher, and resident convenience if many of your residents struggle with mobility. Be sure go over these factors before deciding on wall-mounted mailboxes.
Door Slots. Door slots were once the most common type of “mailbox” used for apartment delivery, and frequently seen in cartoons and movies. They’re still in use today in many locations. Depending on the situation, they may work for your apartments, and are inexpensive to buy and install.
Door slots simply install into each tenant’s door, allowing the USPS to deliver mail directly to each tenant through a slit. They’re also good for private delivery, in which an employee of an apartment complex collects all mail, and then distributes it to each tenant using this method.
This solution may work if cost prevents you from investing in wall-mounted mailboxes, and you don’t have many tenants who require mail delivery. Avoid using door slots if tenant doors face the outside, as uncomfortable drafts, animals, and intruders could use them to get into living spaces. Door slots are also great for tenants who have mobility issues and cannot easily walk to their mailboxes. However, ask your tenants if picking their mail up from the floor is okay before taking the leap.
Mail is difficult to steal via door slots, and small packages can be put through them with ease, decreasing package theft. However, larger packages will still need to be left outside of tenant doors or at a central office to be distributed for private delivery, unless you also invest in separate parcel lockers, which can be purchased and installed alone.
Door slots can also pose issues to the postal service if there are many of them, or the USPS employee will be required to climb multiple flights of stairs to deliver mail. This can lead to slow delivery times and possible injury, which makes them a good choice only for smaller complexes.
Installation time for door slots may take longer than wall-mounted mailboxes, as there will be more units to install, and holes will need to be cut into doors. This makes them a better choice for smaller complexes, where tenant doors are located inside.
We’re Here to Help You Find the Right Mail Solution. At National Mailboxes, we’re here to make sure you choose the best solution for your property, whether it be a commercial or residential complex. Figuring out the best choice for your property shouldn’t be difficult. If you have questions, be sure to reach out to us today.