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Checking mailboxes

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Checking mailboxes

Postby Drewc555 » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:49 pm

My mail gets mixed up all the time. It happens on a weekly basis and sometimes larger items, like orders from Amazon, get mixed up as well.

I live on a college campus so students are out of town during holidays or at a significant other's homes for longer periods of time.

Recently, I ordered some soap from Amazon and it didn't arrive. I suspect it was mixed up again and it's sitting in someone else's mailbox. This is during a holiday and the students are all out of town.

I called my landlord and asked if they could open the other mailboxes for me to check and see if the package was in another mailbox. The landlord responded telling me they get Amazon packages all the time but are never delivered by USPS and that he didn't have the keys. Both statements in that last sentence are not true because I receive Amazon stuff through USPS all the time and, on another occasion, one of the people who work at the real estate office, came over and checked all the mailboxes (fortunately, the first checked was a bingo).

The third thing mentioned by the landlord was that he couldn't because checking other mailboxes is a federal crime. I know going through mailboxes is a crime but is this reasonable? Can a landlord check other mailboxes for a package and not be fined/arrested for tampering with mailboxes? Does the landlord have an obligation to the tenant to ensure they receive their mail? The landlord admitted to the frequency of mailbox mix ups here.

Thanks.
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Re: Checking mailboxes

Postby BubbaJoe123 » Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:34 pm

As I recall, there's no law against opening someone else's mailbox, but there is a law against anybody but the USPS putting something INTO the mailbox, or anybody but the mailbox owner taking anything OUT of the mailbox. Certainly, I could understand the landlord's reluctance to go rooting through their tenants' mail, since (as I understand your post), it's not the landlord's employee who (may have) put the mail in the wrong box, but rather the mail carrier.

"Can a landlord check other mailboxes for a package and not be fined/arrested for tampering with mailboxes?"
Probably, but not certainly.

"Does the landlord have an obligation to the tenant to ensure they receive their mail?"
If the USPS keeps putting things in the wrong boxes, that doesn't sound like the landlord's fault or responsibility. Are the boxes labeled properly?
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Re: Checking mailboxes

Postby Drewc555 » Tue Dec 01, 2015 2:09 pm

Yes, the mailboxes are very clearly marked. The apartment buildings themselves are a little hard to navigate to but they are clearly marked. Thanks for the reply!
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Re: Checking mailboxes

Postby TenantNet » Tue Dec 01, 2015 2:29 pm

In NYC LL's obligation re mail delivery are covered by the Housing Maintenance Code, see http://tenant.net/Other_Laws/HMC/sub2/art12.html

Any other obligations or prohibitions are covered by Federal Law.
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Re: Checking mailboxes

Postby Cranky Tenant » Fri Dec 04, 2015 3:55 am

For a slightly different perspective - What if you saw the landlord going through mailboxes and then didn't receive a package you were expecting? would you suspect he had taken it?

Probably the best solution is to wait till the mailman makes his usual deliveries and ask him if there are any small packages in the other boxes addressed to you. Most mailboxes have a large door that swings open to access several mailboxes at a time.

Next time you're expecting a delivery why not leave a note on the front door asking the mailman to ring your bell for any packages?
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