Letter to Editor: Neighbor Needs Help with Compromised Mailbox- Any Suggestions?

South San Francisco, CA  June 3, 2021

A good part of our work here at Everything South City, is connecting neighbors with the information / resources they need after we research various situations. This one has us stumped so we are asking our neighbors what they might recommend.


Last month a South City neighbor contacted us asking what they might do to resolve a mailbox issue they’ve encountered in their apartment complex. We checked with a few locals who currently work with the postal service, as well as a retired postal manager.


“For the past 6 years my mail has been delivered opened (the mail that I actually get, most of the important mail I expect never gets delivered)” our neighbor tells us. “I live in a complex where the mailboxes are locked and only the residents have the key to their individual box (and the delivery person) according to the USPS.”


One of our post office contacts stated USPS does not have, or issues keys to private apartment mailboxes. “That is done by the owner/manager.” they tell us.

However, our neighbor explains “There were four investigations by the USPS they have concluded there is no wrongdoing on their end. It’s delivered to a locked box and I’m told I’m the only one with the key.”

When we questioned why a new key, or a new mailbox, could not be assigned, our neighbor explained “They said there was no reason to since they know only myself and the delivery person had the key. And the box is for my address so to get another one, I would have to move to another apartment in the complex.

So we are turning to our wonderful community and ask you –

How can this issue be resolved?


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mel perry
mel perry
2 years ago

apparently someone else has a key to
your box, why can’t the maager rekey the lock or replace it?,

Heidi Beck
Heidi Beck
2 years ago
Reply to  mel perry

Since this has been reported to USPS (what about the police?) it seems reasonable to ask the landlord to rekey. And if landlord won’t pay to do it, might be worth the resident’s peace of mind to pay for it themselves (with landlord’s permission). There must be tenant rights organizations that can advise. I’d also suggest subscribing to the USPS Informed Delivery service. Maybe the resident needs to get a post office box? Unfortunate to have to pay, but might be worth the peace of mind.

Last edited 2 years ago by Heidi Beck
2 years ago
Reply to  Heidi Beck

She says essential or important mail is missing it might be worth it to rent a PO Box to see what happens with her mail.