So, you caught your neighbor moving your mailbox and you’re not sure what to do. It’s hard to know what to do if you don’t know the laws surrounding this issue. Is your neighbor even allowed to move your mailbox?
Without permission from your local Post Office, it is illegal for your neighbor to move your mailbox. Your neighbor has no right to move your mailbox even if they think it’s on their property. The United States Postal Office has the final say as to where a mailbox belongs.
Many questions can arise when it comes to this topic. While it’s illegal for your neighbor to move your mailbox, there are a few things that you should consider before taking action. We’re covering them all in the sections below!
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
While you can’t really watch your mailbox 24/7, it’s good to know who is setting foot on your property and what they’re doing.
If you can catch your neighbor in the act, then you can easily win the case against them in a dispute.
- Can Someone Move Your Mailbox?
- Do You Need Permission to Move a Mailbox?
- Can I Move My Mailbox From the Street to My House
- Can I Remove My Neighbors Mailbox?
- Who Owns the Property Around a Mailbox?
- What Are the Rules for Mailbox Placement?
- Mailbox Easements and How They Work
- Are Mailboxes Federal Property?
- Is My Mailbox Owned by the USPS?
- What Side of the Driveway Should a Mailbox Be On?
- Why Do People Have Mailboxes Across the Street?
- Why Is My Mailbox Across the Street?
- My Neighbors Mailbox Is on My Property
- Who Decides Where Mailboxes Are Placed?
- Can the Post Office Make You Move Your Mailbox?
- Can I Remove My Mailbox?
- How Do I Request to Move My Mailbox?
- Moving Mailbox to Front Door
- Related Questions
Can Someone Move Your Mailbox?
Technically speaking, someone can move your mailbox but not without your permission and permission from the United States Postal Service (USPS).
USPS owns all mailboxes in the United States as soon as the mailbox is installed on your property. If someone moved your mailbox without anyone’s permission then they are violating federal laws. Not only that, they likely trespassed if they went on to your property to move your mailbox.
Do You Need Permission to Move a Mailbox?
To move a mailbox, you need permission from USPS and from the owner of the property in which the mailbox is placed.
Since USPS owns all mailboxes, you need to contact USPS if you want to move one. They will contact the Postmasters of your area and discuss with them where the best place is to move the mailbox.
You also need the permission of the property owner who is assigned to that mailbox. USPS can override the property owner’s decision to permit if the mailbox is not currently placed in an accessible position.
Can I Move My Mailbox From the Street to My House
If you want to relocate your mailbox from the street to your house, then you have to contact USPS and gain their permission to do so.
USPS does not directly handle relocations of mailboxes but instead, they contact the local Postmasters so they can decide where the best place for mailboxes is based on their location.
Mail delivery personnel work a very tight and efficient schedule in which mailboxes need to be easily accessible. If your house is close to the street, you will likely be allowed to move your mailbox. But, if your driveway is a mile long, your mailbox will likely have to stay on the street.
Can I Remove My Neighbors Mailbox?
You can absolutely not remove your neighbor’s mailbox without their permission and permission from USPS. If you do so without permission, you will be tampering with federal property.
As soon as a mailbox is installed, it becomes property of the United States Postal Service. Removing a mailbox owned by USPS is considered to be mail tampering which is a federal offense with steep fines. You may also be charged with state offenses on top of the federal offense.
You might also enjoy our post on Can I Put My Neighbor’s Mail in Their Mailbox?
Who Owns the Property Around a Mailbox?
In residential areas, most mailboxes are placed on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and road. This strip of grass is typically owned by the municipality.
In more rural areas, mailboxes are placed directly on the homeowner’s property. Therefore, the homeowner owns the property around their mailbox. However, the USPS still owns the mailbox regardless if it’s placed on private property.
What Are the Rules for Mailbox Placement?
Mailboxes must be placed 41” to 45” from the surface of the street or yard to the inside floor of the mailbox and 6” to 8” back from the side of the street.
Your local Postmasters decide where the best placement is for mailboxes depending on your geological location. If you are unsure, contact your local USPS and speak to an expert. You may be able to have your mailbox mounted on your house instead of the street.
Mailbox Easements and How They Work
Mailbox easements are put into place when a mailbox needs to be in a specific area to allow ease of mail delivery such as when all mailboxes need to be on the right side of the road.
The easement is then created and is owned by the municipality. Even if an easement is in front of your house, the easement is not considered your property and you can not move any mailbox that is there.
Are Mailboxes Federal Property?
Mailboxes are considered federal property as soon as they are installed, as in, as soon as they are mounted on a post or wall and ready for use.
USPS owns mailboxes once they are installed. Before they are installed they belong to the manufacturer and then the retailer.
You might also enjoy our post on What to Do if Your Neighbor Hits Your Mailbox
Is My Mailbox Owned by the USPS?
USPS owns all mailboxes that are utilized by the centralized mail delivery system whether that be a cluster box, a wall-mounted box, or a street box.
USPS has ownership of mailboxes since mail is a public service that needs to be protected. Because of this, citizens are protected under the United States law from mail theft and mail tampering.
If you are unsure if USPS owns your mailbox, check with your local post office.
What Side of the Driveway Should a Mailbox Be On?
Mailboxes should, typically, be on the right side of your driveway as you are driving out. Sometimes this isn’t always possible and that is okay.
If you can put your mailbox on the right side of your driveway, then do so. If not, then it’s not a huge deal. What matters most is that your mailbox is on the right-hand side of the street so it’s easier for the carrier to drop off multiple parcels at once.
You might also enjoy our post on Can I Have Two Mailboxes at My House?
Why Do People Have Mailboxes Across the Street?
People may have mailboxes across the street because the Postmasters have instructed them to do so. This makes it easier for carriers to drop off mail. This may also happen if the street is one-way.
In this case, all the mailboxes will have to be on the right side of the road regardless of where the house is since the carrier cannot drive down the road the wrong way.
Why Is My Mailbox Across the Street?
There are two reasons to explain why your mailbox is across the street: your local Postmasters decided it’s more convenient for all mailboxes to be on one side of the street or you live on a one-way street.
If you live on a one-way street, all mailboxes must be on the right-hand side of the road. If you live on a two-way street and your mailbox is still across the street then it’s likely that this was a decision made by your local Postmasters to ease delivery for the carriers.
My Neighbors Mailbox Is on My Property
If you believe your neighbor’s mailbox is on your property, likely, their mailbox is placed on a mailbox easement, which would be the property of the municipality.
Mailbox easements are implemented when the carrier believes their job will be simplified by having all mailboxes on one side of the street. In this case, an easement is created which is a piece of land that is owned by the municipality to provide public services.
If you still think that your neighbor’s mailbox is on your property, check with your local post office and explain the citation to them.
Side note: Curious if you can place some misdelivered mail in your neighbor’s mailbox? Check out our post on whether or not you can put your neighbor’s mail in their mailbox.
Who Decides Where Mailboxes Are Placed?
The Postmaster General, who works for USPS, in your area decides where mailboxes are placed.
Since your Postmaster General knows your geographical location the best, they are designated to decide where mailboxes are placed in your area.
If you would like to move your mailbox, you may have some freedom but always check with your post office first since your mailbox is federal property.
Can the Post Office Make You Move Your Mailbox?
The Post Office can definitely make you move your mailbox. Since USPS owns your mailbox, they have the final decision on where the mailbox lives.
Mail delivery is a public service that requires extreme attention to detail and careful planning. If your local Post Office has decided they need to move your mailbox to ease delivery of mail, then they have all the rights to do so.
Can I Remove My Mailbox?
Your mailbox is federal property and removing it is considered a federal crime with steep fines.
If you choose to not have mail delivered to you anymore, you can request this at your local post office.
How Do I Request to Move My Mailbox?
Contact your local Post Office if you would like to move your mailbox. They will contact your local Postmaster and together you can agree.
Your Postmaster knows best where mailboxes can be placed to allow for ease of delivery. They also take into consideration where the homeowner would like to have their mailbox. In collaboration, you can find a suitable place for your mailbox.
Moving Mailbox to Front Door
It may be possible for you to move your mailbox to your front door but before you do you MUST contact your local post office.
Contact your local post office and request to have your mailbox moved. You have to do this because a mailbox is federal property and moving it without permission is considered a federal offense.
You will likely be allowed to move your mailbox but doing your due diligence will save you some headaches.
Sidenote: Don’t forget to check out our blog post on whether or not you can decorate a mailbox!
Who Is Responsible for Mailbox Maintenance?
Although USPS owns your mailbox, you are responsible for its maintenance.
This includes making sure the number is visible, it is free of rust, it is well painted, and it is stable. If you do not maintain your mailbox, you may be fined.