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U.S. Postal Service Proposes New Mailbox Regulations

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has made a determination that manufactured home communities that have wall-mounted cluster mailboxes would be covered under their upcoming proposed changes to their mailbox standards for apartment buildings. USPS says the current standard, adopted in 1975, needs to be updated to accommodate growing mail volume and improve mail safety and security.

The new standard will apply to all communities (as well as apartment buildings, offices, etc.) that have banks of locked wall-mounted mailboxes, provided by the community, that are served by a postal delivery person who sorts the mail into boxes on site.

USPS has not issued a proposed rule yet. The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is working with other real estate groups to provide input now to USPS on the detrimental impact of any new standards that require retrofitting of mailboxes or any mandatory requirements for also providing parcel lockers. The proposed rule is expected this fall.

Specifically, USPS would like to require mailboxes to be redesigned to 3” (height) x 12” (width) x 15” (depth). USPS would also like to require that community owners provide one parcel locker for every eight mailboxes. The proposed locker size is 12” (height) x 12” (width) x 18” (depth).

Although it has not released any statistics, USPS states that identity theft through the mail is on the rise and these new boxes with stronger locks will help prevent that, although there is no effort to require curbside boxes to have any lock. Further, USPS over the next two decades plans on delivering mail in presorted sealed plastic bags that will fit more easily into the boxes.

Proponents of the new boxes, besides USPS, include mailbox manufacturers and direct mail and magazine distributors. Direct mail companies want more room in boxes for advertising promotions, while magazine distributors want mailboxes that will allow magazines to be delivered flat and not rolled, given the growth of magazine inserts, such as CDs and perfume samples.

USPS believes the requirement for parcel lockers will allow it to compete more effectively with FedEx and UPS in the growing home delivery market.

MHI is adamantly opposed to any retrofitting requirement and will seek support from industry supporters on Capitol Hill to block any effort to require retrofitting, which can cost upwards of $50,000 per community depending on size and complexity of the existing placement of mailboxes. Over 300 communities responded to MHI’s mailbox questionnaire. The information will help MHI prove the detrimental impact any retrofitting requirement may have.

MHI members with questions may contact Mike O’Brien at mobrien@mfghome.org.




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