What is the law regarding all tenants having the same mailbox key?

UPDATED: Apr 21, 2011

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What is the law regarding all tenants having the same mailbox key?

Everyone can open all the boxes in my apartment building.

Asked on April 21, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

That shouldn't occur because federal law prohibits tampering with the mails of other people. Oftentimes, you cannot even place personal mail in someone else's mailbox because of this. You can talk to the postmaster or inspector in your state, explain what is occurring and immediately seek redress. In the interim, you should consider obtaining a separate mailbox (like a post office box at the post office) until this issue is resolved. You can even deduct that amount (the cost of the post office box) from your rent because your landlord has not repaired this matter yet. Inform your landlord in writing that you are doing this and submit the receipt with your rent to show what you're deducting. Send by certified mail and inform your landlord that it cannot retaliate because it is indeed breaking federal law.

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