NAHB Expresses Concerns Over Cluster Mailboxes

Filed in Advocacy by on May 1, 2019 11 Comments

The U.S. Postal Service now requires cluster mailboxes for all new developments.

In a letter to members of the House Financial Services Committee, NAHB expressed concerns to federal lawmakers over increased costs and undue burdens to America’s home builders and home owners regarding the use of cluster mailboxes by the U.S. Postal Service.

The letter was sent as the committee held a hearing to examine the fiscal health of the U.S. Postal Service.

Since 2012, the Postal Service has expressed preference for centralized delivery service, typically to cluster mailbox units. In practice though, this change has resulted in a de facto mandate for new construction across the nation.

In its letter to lawmakers, NAHB noted that if home owners are members of a home owners association (HOA), “they will end up paying significantly for the upkeep and maintenance over the life of the cluster box unit. If they are not a member of an HOA, it is unclear who (if anyone) will be responsible for the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of the unit or any associated legal liabilities, especially if the unit is placed on private property.”

By moving to cluster mailboxes in an attempt to save money, the Postal Service is essentially shifting this additional upfront cost to home builders — and ultimately — to home owners.

NAHB stands ready to work with Congress to move legislation to improve the outlook of the Postal Service but believes it is important for lawmakers to hold hearings examining the costs and benefits associated with a shift to centralized mail delivery.

For more information, contact Alex Strong at 800-368-5242 x8279.

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Comments (11)

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  1. Flor Gutierrez says:

    Who is responsible for Cluster Mail Boxes? Why are they put in private property? Who established these type of set up? The Post office? Where can you send any concerns about it?

    • NAHB Now says:

      The responsibility for maintaining a cluster mailbox is typically turned over to a home owners association at some point. If a community does not have an HOA, it is unclear who is responsible for the maintenance. The U.S. Postal Service has mandated that new communities be built with cluster mailboxes. You can write to your member of Congress to express your concerns about this practice. You can find your representative at and your senators at

      • RB Kirkwood says:

        Where can we find information on USPS handing over the cluster mailboxes to the HOA. I’m on a HOA board and we are unaware of this.

  2. LR Swadley says:

    Hello. I am a long time developer and builder in northern Michigan. We spent two years fighting with and negotiating with postmaster on continuing mailboxes vs their cluster collection boxes in a typical residential subdivision. As we went thru this the blame was placed on the regional office the their pressure in local paymasters. In the end they threatened us with no mail delivery at all in our new neighborhoods in the city of Marquette unless we agreed and put them in. So now we have two neighborhoods side by side with typical mailboxes at each driveway and one with these cluster boxes that are quite a ways from the homes. Plus senior citizens have to deal with this problem.
    LR Swadley

  3. Preston Mettler says:

    Nice to see NAHB at the table with this discussion. Time to clear it up. 2 years ago we were promised action by the head of the Postal Commission in Orlando at the Land Development Committee Meeting. We have never heard back from him to my knowledge.

  4. Irvin Ellard says:

    This is a problem for the HOA and it is very disliked by potential and present homeowners. They want to be able to get their mail and leave mail for pick up at the end of their driveway. They feel this is one of the advantages for home ownership vs renting in an apartment complex. This is the feed back I am getting from owners and potential owners. Some have declined to buy in such neighborhoods. I’m not sure how it saves money anyway. It must be changed.

  5. Julie says:

    I don’t know how it was decided that cluster mailboxes are a good thing. They definitely are not. Sounds like it was the post office that decided then pushed this set up on to the communities. Another government bureaucracy pushing what’s good for them and they’re budgets on to the public, whether wanted or not. Was the public even given a chance to express their views and concerns before the use of clustered mailboxes became the norm? Did the US Post Office decide what was good for them so the decision was made. Was the public even allowed a yea or nay?

    I dislike cluster mailboxes, especially for the elderly. My parents are in their 90s. They’re in good overall health and continue to live in their private home. My dad can make it out to the end of his driveway to collect the mail. This is one of the small things he continues to enjoy. Any further to collect his mail and his bad knees and hips would definitely make this a problem. A clustered mailbox site would make this simple task very difficult. With our population getting older is this really a good idea for the public, or for the government?

    It’s a simple task picking mail up at the end of your driveway. I agree with other comments that it is also an advantage to private home ownership. Buying and maintaining your own mailbox is also a simple task and advantage to private home ownership. Now, thank-you so much US Post Office, I also get the privilege of paying for and maintaining all my neighbors mailboxes, too. This is usually done by a professional, which costs a lot more then when I was allowed to do this simple task for my own private mailbox. It may not be much but it doesn’t take much to knock the budget off for some.

  6. Theresa says:

    The liability and safety of cluster mailboxes is a main concern. Isn’t a mailbox federal property? I thought our taxes covered this? Who will be responsible to maintain keys from the sale of one homeowner to another? The HOA? The Sales agent? The Closing Agent? The theft of mail will make this much easier on criminals, they have all they need in one location. Oh yeah, the HOA can just spend even more money for video surveillance to monitor the mailboxes, golly what a great idea cluster mailboxes are for private homeowners. Love seeing our tax dollars hard at work. NOT!! The price of homes go up, the property taxes go up and for the privilege of owning your own piece of heaven, you get to pay for it again with further maintenance and who knows what kind of hike you get to take to get your private mail, for a private home, in a public cluster mailbox. Gee it just keeps getting better and better!! What next a fee for the right to vote?

  7. Jason Horomanski says:

    We are building a duplex sub-division in central pa. I had gotten it approved in 2016 without any mention from any of the 8 governmental agencies, I dealt with, of any cluster box unit requirements. Because of weather and business conditions, we were not able to start the infrastructure until this year and it wont be completed until June of 2020. I have no place on the project to safely place a CBU and the post office is telling me I’m now required to install them. My question is, when did the Post Office “preferences” change to requirements? It would seem to me that if the Post Office wants to institute changes like this, that they would need to be at the table when these types of plans are being engineered so they can be fully understood by all parties involved, not just implemented whenever someone in DC, who’s trying to save their job says, “Hey, we now need to make this a requirement.”

    • NAHB Now says:

      As mentioned in the post, since 2012, the Postal Service has expressed preference for centralized delivery service, typically to cluster mailbox units. In practice though, this change has resulted in a de facto mandate for new construction across the nation. NAHB has no seat at the table for decisions like this because the USPS is essentially a private, government-sponsored monopoly. It is important that constituents bring this to the attention of their Members of Congress, who are the only officials with any say over USPS operations.

  8. Marcia Wendel says:

    In 1992 I purchased a lot/condo, not yet built, in a newly planned development. I made daily trips to the site to look /watch the stages of development. On one visit I asked at the Sales Office about mail delivery /mailbox locations as the entire community as planned was to be comprised of 452 condo units. I was told that there would be centralized locations planned & that the Postal Authorities would be installing clustered mailboxes. This was done, & each box had the US Postal Office (Blue) logo applied to call them for repair issues. Now, almost 30 years later, as our boxes/stations need replacement we are told that this is the HOA’s financial obligations to pay for new boxes/stations. We were never advised of this as a Service should be held accountable. They have replaced some boxes for age related issues at our insistence over the years but now as the boxes all need replaced they are trying to pass this expense on to the HOA. We cannot understand their reasoning and continue to argue that they worked with the builder almost 30 years ago and the Postal Service did the construction of the boxes and became their property at that time along with the responsibility to maintain them. All requests we have now made for replacement of our boxes seem to fall on deaf ears and unsure of whom to contact to get compliance responsibility.

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