Q:

What are some residential mailbox laws?

A:

Quick Answer

Residential mailboxes on posts must be from 41 inches to 45 inches above ground level. Posted mailboxes must be 6 inches to 8 inches back from a raised curb. The apartment number or street address must appear on the outside of the mailbox, according to USPS regulations.

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Full Answer

If a residential mailbox is located on a street that is different from where the residence is physically located, the full address must appear on the box. A mail carrier must be able to access mailboxes attached to buildings easily.

The Federal Highway Administration recommends attaching mailboxes to 4-inch by 4-inch wooden posts or 2-inch diameter aluminum or standard steel pipe. Installers should bury posts no more than 24 inches deep.

When mail is placed in a person's mailbox, the mail is still in the possession of the federal government, until the mail is retrieved by the recipient, states Mail Boss. U.S. citizens are considered to be leasing a mailbox from the government even if the person purchased the mailbox and installed it on his own property.

Because the mailbox officially belongs to the government, it falls under the U.S. law governing the tampering with, disabling or otherwise vandalizing of a mailbox. This is an illegal act under Title 18, Section 1705 of the United States Code, explains the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Those in violation of this code can be sentenced up to three years in prison for each instance and fined up to $250,000.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service states that those who wish to report violence or theft against a mailbox can do so directly with the U.S. Postal Service at 877-876-2455, as of 2015, or online at USPS.gov. A mailbox should be kept in good condition in a safe location in order to reduce the risk of vandalism.

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