May 1, 2019
At first blush, there doesn’t seem to be a deep connection between the U.S. Postal Service and apartment complexes, except for an obvious one. Namely, postal workers deliver mail to apartment residents by putting said mail into boxes belonging to the units. Residents unlock their mailboxes, collect the mail, and go about their business. If the mail involves package delivery, packages can be left either at residences’ mailboxes, or at a front desk, if a complex has one.
However, Congressional moves to improve the USPS’ operational efficiencies and financial standing got the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA) involved. The two organizations recently submitted letters to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, asking lawmakers to consider that changes to mail delivery policy could have an impact on apartment operations.
One issue involves legislative proposals mandating a move to centralized delivery for new and existing addresses. USPS policy already favors centralized delivery for new addresses. However, requiring existing apartment communities to convert to centralized delivery processes could pose significant challenges, the NMHC and NAA note.
Furthermore, the two organizations expressed the need for clarity when it comes to implementation and policy enforcement regarding delivery postal regulations, points of delivery and processes. Because local postmasters enjoy broad discretion in how mail delivery policy is implemented, this can create confusion for apartment companies operating in different areas and jurisdictions.
“We also expressed the challenges of the mailbox monopoly, which can require some apartment communities to provide two separate delivery spaces for packages — one for USPS and one for other delivery carriers,” the NMHC said. This is a definite issue, especially as online shopping and deliveries expand. Such challenges, combined with an increase in package delivery, means apartment communities have had to change operations, as well as to expand storage space.
While the NMHC and NAA indicate they appreciate the need for postal reform, “such reforms must not be overly burdensome to existing and future apartment communities, which are responsible for meeting a host of design, legal and resident demands,” the NMHC said.
Photo by Marshalik Mikhail (Shutterstock)
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