Curbside and cluster mailboxes are the two most commonly used residential mailboxes. These boxes are USPS-approved and preferred because they are easily accessible for the mail carrier.
In some communities, some mailboxes are on the house. You would normally see them attached on the front side of the house, beside or close to the front door.
These are called wall-mounted mailboxes.
Here is Why Some Mailboxes Are on the House:
Some mailboxes are on the house because the community’s local post office permits them. Wall-mounted mailboxes are usually used in communities where the mail carrier delivers mail on foot. You would not see these mailboxes in communities where the mail carrier drives around when making deliveries.
Why Do Some Houses Have Attached Mailboxes?
Some houses have mailboxes attached to them because they belong to a community where the mail carrier does his deliveries on foot.
Normally, mail carriers deliver mail while driving a vehicle. Curbside mailboxes are designed, so mail carriers do not have to park their vehicle and get out of them when making deliveries.
Curbside mailboxes also allow mail carriers to easily deliver the mail into the mailbox without getting out of their vehicles.
Houses with attached mailboxes will not work for this kind of system.
If a mailbox is attached to the house, the mail carrier must park their vehicle, get out of it, and then walk to the house to deliver mail. This is inefficient, and it takes up a lot of time.
So when you see houses with mailboxes attached, the mail carrier normally does deliveries on foot in this area.
Can I Attach My Mailbox To My House?
In some cases, you can attach your mailbox to your house. However, you cannot do this without getting a permit.
According to the US Postal Service website, one must obtain a permit from the local postmaster to use a wall-mounted mailbox.
A permit is required because mailboxes attached to your house are more difficult for USPS mail carriers to access. Instead of just driving by your curbside mailbox and delivering the mail from their vehicle, mail carriers would have to park and then walk to your house to deliver mail if you have a wall-mounted mailbox.
The USPS aims to provide good customer service, so they typically want to deliver mail in the most efficient and fastest way possible. This is why wall-mounted mailboxes are generally discouraged.
If you get a permit to use this type of mailbox or live in a community where the mail carriers deliver on foot, it would be okay for you to attach your mailbox to your house.
Here are some general guidelines on installing a wall-mounted mailbox:
- If you want to replace your curbside mailbox with a wall-mounted mailbox, you must obtain a permit from your local postmaster general.
- You can choose from various sizes and styles for your wall-mounted mailbox. These mailboxes do not have to have a seal of approval from your local postmaster general.
- There is no prescribed size for a wall-mounted mailbox, but generally, you should choose one that can hold a normal day’s worth of mail, including letter-sized envelopes, catalogs, brochures, and postcards.
- You must place the mailbox near the main entrance to be easily visible and accessible for your mail carrier.
Can I Remove My Mailbox From My House?
Legally, you are not required to have a mailbox. If you have a mailbox and do not want one anymore, you can remove your mailbox from your house.
The consequence of not having a mailbox is pretty simple – you will not be receiving mail. If you remove your mailbox, any incoming mail will be returned to the sender with a note saying there is no mail receptacle.
If you want to opt-out of a mailbox, you must inform your local postmaster. This is to inform the post office that any mail addressed to you will no longer be delivered to your house.
If you remove your mailbox and want to get your mail, you must go to your local post office to claim them. You must present a valid ID to the post office staff to confirm your identity.
Can I Move My Mailbox To The Porch?
If you want to move your mailbox to the porch, you need to speak to your local postmaster first and check if it will be allowed.
In general, no USPS legislation covers moving mailboxes within your residential vicinity. However, there are rules saying that mailboxes should be easily accessible to the mail carrier.
Like switching from curbside mailboxes to wall-mounted mailboxes, you have to obtain permission from your local postmaster if you want to move your mailbox to the porch. You have to consider its accessibility to the mail carrier.
Some mail carriers will not deliver your mail if your mailbox is not accessible.
Another thing you have to consider when moving your mailbox is how the location is affected by different weather conditions or outdoor elements. For example, you would not want to move your mailbox to where snowplows can bury it during winter.
Where Else Can Residential Mailboxes Be?
There are only some selected areas where you can place a mailbox.
In general, your mailbox has to be accessible to the mail carrier. It has to be in a spot where the mail carrier can deliver your mail without them having to leave their vehicle.
Here are the general guidelines on where to place your mailbox:
On the Curb
Curbside mailboxes are one of the most common types of residential mailboxes. The USPS has specific guidelines on how big they should be.
There are also guidelines on where to place them:
- There should be a distance of 41 to 45 inches from the road surface to the bottom of the curbside mailbox or point of mail entry.
- Curbside mailboxes should be 6 to 8 inches back from the curb.
You need to contact your local postmaster for guidance if you do not have an elevated curb.
Attached to the House
These mailboxes are not that common, but you still see them in some communities.
There is no prescribed size for this type of mailbox, but it should be able to fit a normal day’s volume of mail.
- Wall-mounted mailboxes must have permission from the local postmaster before they are installed.
- Wall-mounted mailboxes must be placed near the main entrance to be easily visible and accessible for your mail carrier.
Approved Door Slots
Some houses do not have mailboxes, but they have door slots on the main door.
Just like mailboxes attached to the house, you need to get permission from your local postmaster if you want to have a door slot instead of a mailbox.
Once approved, there are some guidelines on how to install them:
- The opening of the door slot must be at least 1.5 x 7 inches.
- The bottom of the door slot must be placed at least 30 inches above the floor.
- Horizontal door slots must have a flap hinged at the top, while vertical door slots must have their hinge on the opposite side of the door’s hinges.
To summarize, mailboxes attached to the house may be allowed if you obtain a permit from your local postmaster general.
Take note that if you make any major changes to your mailbox, move it, or switch to a wall-mounted box, you always need to check with your local post office first.