My HOA has cluster mailboxes located in a common area. I have been having problems with mine for years now because the key keeps breaking off and getting stuck inside the hole. The mailman also has trouble delivering my mail because of this. Each time this happens, I get a locksmith to help but he says the key will keep breaking like this if I don’t get the mailbox itself fixed or replaced. The mailbox is rather old and is due for replacement but nobody else seems to have the same problem as I do (or at least not as bad as I have it).
I have approached the board of my HOA on numerous occasions, bringing this issue up every chance I get. But since not everyone has the same problem, the board keeps voting against replacing the mailbox. They keep telling me to pay for the cost of replacement myself but it’s like $200 each time and that’s way out of my budget.
As a compromise, I have asked for permission to install a single mailbox by my front door so I can at least get my mail properly. But the board has rejected my request on the basis that it “won’t look nice” and isn’t “consistent with the look of the community.”
I have resorted to removing the lock from my mailbox in the cluster but I feel like I shouldn’t have to go to such lengths just so I can get my mail. Isn’t it the job of the HOA to repair or replace the mailbox since it’s in a common area? Am I in the wrong on this issue?
If I recall correctly, I believe you can contact the US Postal Service to replace the lock on your mailbox even if it’s part of a cluster. They will bill the cost (about $10-$30) to the HOA. I’m surprised they are even continuing to deliver mail to you even if the lock is broken since that doesn’t meet their specifications for a CBU.
You can buy cheap locks at Home Depot or Lowes for under $10. They are also good quality and relatively easy to install yourself. If you try, you might even be able to talk your postman into installing it for you but I imagine you would have to schedule this beforehand.
Update: I have since been made aware that several other owners have been having trouble with their mailboxes as well. We have brought the issue to the board once again but they are holding off on replacing the mailbox until they “find room in the budget.”
Also, I have asked USPS about this and they said they are not responsible for replacing the lock because the HOA bought the mailboxes from a separate vendor about a decade ago.
“The mailbox is rather old and is due for replacement”
It definitely sounds like you’re saying the cluster mailbox has reached the end of its life cycle in which case the HOA should be responsible for replacing it. This should all be found within your HOA’s reserve study and money should have been set aside in your reserve funds to pay for the cost of replacement. The board is responsible for this task and they are not doing their job right if you don’t have reserves.