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Subject: CA HOA cluster mailboxes - who is responsible
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Author Messages
StaceyL
(California)

Posts:25


01/09/2013 12:10 PM  
Does anybody know who is respnsible for maintenance and or repair/replacement of mailboxes (the 10 box cluster type) for CA HOA's? Our mailboxes are one unit - 10 across - on a visiblly sloped setup. Mine is on the far left - and the key (potmetal) breaks repeatedly since 2005. I was told it is my reponsibility to have the lock changed (at $200.00 a pop) because the key broke off inside. The locksmith said the keys will keep breaking until the mailboxes are fixed. I presented this to the board several times over the years, and was always told it is my expense. The mailboxes are in the common area not on individual doors. The mailman has also had trouble getting into the top part with his key to open the boxes - something the HOA paid for when it happens. The mailboxes are at the end of their lifecycle, and when it was brought up last time, voted against replacing (I was the only one having problems). Now, several others have had problems with the doors sticking and keys bending, and it has been revisted for replacement. So far, it has been pushed out "until further funds can be raised" as they just got done with painting the 10 units in the budget. I had the lock removed completely so I could get my mail, as suggesting the replacement the board did no good, and I did not want to pay yearly fees at the post office which has limited hours and I would have to take off work to get my mail. I asked the board if I could put up a single box by my front door that the mailman could use and was told no, it would be unsightly and not "the same" for all. There is a single box up on another owners door for the hoa dues to be paid. For now, I get my mail in the box with no lock on it, but am concerned that the board will keep pushing this out for years - has been months without lock already. Any suggestions? I do not think I should have to pay $200.00 for lock replacement each time the cheap keys break inside because the line of boxes leans on the door and is hard to open and they don't want to do anything about it. I also do not think I should be responsible for it in the common area - boxes that all units share equally, not on a private door or single box. If I am wrong, please let me know.
JohnB26


Posts:0


01/09/2013 12:18 PM  
the United States Postal Servive will replace your individual box lock for $28-30 total.

the cbu repair will be done by them and billed to the hoa

they should NOT be delivering at all if the cbu does not meet their specs

the above is how it is SUPPOSED to work
StaceyL
(California)

Posts:25


01/09/2013 12:21 PM  
the United States Postal Servive will replace your individual box lock for $28-30 total.

the cbu repair will be done by them and billed to the hoa


cbu?? sorry I am not following the shorthand.
The USPS said they are not responsible for the box locks at all - because the HOA purchased them from an outside vendor - 10 years or so ago.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9306


01/09/2013 1:10 PM  
We had cluster boxes like your talking about. They were in bad condition as well. Normally the post office would be responsible for it's replacement or repair. However, like you said the HOA basically broke that contract by buying their own. The other issue is that the Post office most likely don't make these type of boxes anymore. The post office is going broke and no longer have certain items like these mailboxes. They too would have to contract them out.

Which is part of my suggestion. The HOA could talk to the post office for a complete replacement with the understanding they get what they get from the post office. It may be they no longer can supply this option and may suggest individual boxes instead. Which may be against the HOA's appearance rules. Basically a whole revisit to the entire situation and starting from scratch.

The other item is that you can most likely buy these key locks at Lowes or Home depot for $5. They are easy to install. If your lucky like us, the postman/woman would install it for you. That would have to be arranged through them because you can't leave anything in your mailbox that does NOT have a stamp on it.

It' not going to be an easy process and some compromises made amongst everyone. The post office isn't getting any richer and the HOA will have to step up for some of the costs. It may be time to discuss a full replacement option or everyone get a box if that is okay with the mailperson.

Former HOA President
StaceyL
(California)

Posts:25


01/09/2013 1:17 PM  
I will check at Home Depot and see if I can get a lock. Part fo the problem, is the key is made of very cheap thin potmetal type that does not take the stress of the mailbox not being aligned correctly and bends and breaks - when it breaks off in the lock, I cannot get it out. I have been replacing keys since 2005 in this fashion, but the last time I could not get it out of the lock at all. The repair person had to drill the lock out - could not get it out the usual way by removing the c-clamp and the mailman could not get it out either.
My HOA will pay for the repair at the top because when the mailman cannot get into the boxes they go without their mail, but when it is just me, they say it is my problem.
JohnB26


Posts:0


01/09/2013 2:58 PM  
you are missing my point

the postal service has repairpeople who can access the inside via the BACK by opening the delivery door with the POST OFFICE "ARROW" LOCK/KEY
they then remove a 'spring clip' and a 1/4-20 nut INSIDE allowing the user lock to 'drop off'

they then install the PROPER postal approved STURDY lock

all for under $30

JohnB26


Posts:0


01/09/2013 3:02 PM  
CBU = cluster box unit (the 'cluster' of mail boxes you see)

OPL = outside parcel locker (the locker used for package delivery ~ when they leave the key in your box)

http://www.mailboxes.com/departments/residential-mailboxes/post-mounted/cluster-box-units/
StaceyL
(California)

Posts:25


01/09/2013 3:02 PM  
you are missing my point

the postal service has repairpeople who can access the inside via the BACK by opening the delivery door with the POST OFFICE "ARROW" LOCK/KEY
they then remove a 'spring clip' and a 1/4-20 nut INSIDE allowing the user lock to 'drop off'

they then install the PROPER postal approved STURDY lock

all for under $30




No, I got the point exactly - the postal service could NOT get the lock out after removing the spring clip and nut from the inside.
They tried - told me to call a locksmith as they are not responsible for it. Locksmith said it would be a revolving $200.00 charge each time to replace the lock if hte key breaks off inside, which it will do until the boxes are fixed/replaced. The post office tried as a favor to me as they are not responsible for the boxes at all since they are purchased from an outside vendor and not the USPS.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:9461


01/09/2013 3:35 PM  
I play golf with several high level, retired USPS people. I will ask them about this and report back.
JonD1


Posts:0


01/09/2013 4:14 PM  
www.mwh.com

This is Home Depot website for maintenance supplies. Same items as HD stores but other items as well and in bulk. We buy all our supplies this way, free shipping over a certain amount and quick easy ordering.

Light bulbs, light fixtures, locks, anything an HOA might need.

We order bags of 10 replacement locks (universal replacement locks that will fit most boxes with an assortment of swing arms to match your paricular box) like the ones you describe in a bank mailbox system for about $5 each. And they come with a real key not the Mickey Mouse break-a-way keys you describe.

To swap one out we charge the owner $5 to cover the cost of the lock and save the owner the cost of using a locksmith.

I would forget the phone of he locksmith you have been using, he should be in jail. $200????

You open the back delivery door, you either pull out the spring clip, or back off the retaining nut, or remove the fastener tha holds the swing arm and pop the lock comes out. In most cases less than 5 minutes. Drilling out the lock?????? Sounds like the locksmith thinks breaking into a bank vault!

Sounds like the door is being pinched by the weight of the boxes or the boxes have shifted to make the door difficult to swing open and closed.
Sounds like an issue for the HOA as it is their box not yours.

Not sure how the USPS works around the country, but here they will do nothing with boxes or locks that is OUR domain according to them for years.

If you are unable to do the work yourself I would look for a local handyman rather than a locksmith who can't open a mailbox and change a $5 lock for less than $200. If this guy has ANY ability he should be able to size up the problem and reslove it once for GOOD!

Good luck



StaceyL
(California)

Posts:25


01/09/2013 4:30 PM  
Sounds like the door is being pinched by the weight of the boxes or the boxes have shifted to make the door difficult to swing open and closed.
Sounds like an issue for the HOA as it is their box not yours.


Thanks for all the great helpful info!!!
this was the issue I started with. HOA says it is my problem and not theirs. They only fix the locks if the mailman cannot get into the top part - which has happened.
The box is in common area - all 10 are linked and not on my door - I said it is their responsibility and the life time is up so why not replace it or fix it... standoff at this point
CarolR11


Posts:0


01/09/2013 4:52 PM  
Stacey, you're saying the "lifetime is up," which I assume means that the cluster is on your reserves schedule as our clusters are. And that their estimated life has been exceeded already. This should mean that your HOA is responsible for them and should replace the cluster. Theoretically, the funds have been reserved and are available to replace the cluster(s).
JonD1


Posts:0


01/09/2013 5:41 PM  
Posted By StaceyL on 01/09/2013 4:30 PM
Sounds like the door is being pinched by the weight of the boxes or the boxes have shifted to make the door difficult to swing open and closed.
Sounds like an issue for the HOA as it is their box not yours.


Thanks for all the great helpful info!!!
this was the issue I started with. HOA says it is my problem and not theirs. They only fix the locks if the mailman cannot get into the top part - which has happened.
The box is in common area - all 10 are linked and not on my door - I said it is their responsibility and the life time is up so why not replace it or fix it... standoff at this point



Stacy:

Are these boxes indoors or outdoors? Steel, aluminium ????

And what does it mean when you say "the life time is up"?

And how many boxes are there on your property? How many units total?

I don't understand, a good quality box if maintained should last for quite some time. How old are these boxes???
StaceyL
(California)

Posts:25


01/10/2013 10:37 AM  
Theoretically the funds are reserved under the budget. The first time it came up, they voted to push it out for replacement, as it was just my box having trouble. Now, they said they have to wait until funds are built up again to cover it, since the complex was just painted out of the funds. Now it is scheduled for 2013/2014 - another year.
the mailboxes are some type of metal - 2 sets of 5 each, attached in a row side by side. They were not purchased by USPS who claims no responsiblity for them at all.
there are 10 units in the complex. 6 of the units are board members and are the only ones who have a right to vote on anything.
The board says it is the individual responsibliity to get keys and have the lock changed - the same as a front door change of lock would be. We do not have any amenities in our complex - pool, clubhouse, etc and our dues are $315.00, which they say are not enough. The hoa replaces/repairs the locks that the USPS uses to get into the mailboxes (from the top) but not the ones we use to get our mail out.
StaceyL
(California)

Posts:25


04/02/2013 3:38 PM  
the mailboxes are one the agenda to be replaced - as another homeowner is now having problems with their mail (go figure). They have been at it for 2-3 months trying to decide what type to get, what way it will face etc - if this is typical of other agenda items, it can go on for months and months before they ever decide.
NiteshS1
(New York)

Posts:1


05/14/2020 3:14 AM  
A parcel locker is a secure container that lets customer to receive large packages. Parcel lockers are usually located in common spaces to which couriers and USPS postal workers have easy access.
Package locker for apartments is a much safer alternative that’ll give you greater peace of mind, especially if you don’t check your mail daily..
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:9306


05/14/2020 4:55 AM  
This is an old post. Create a new one if you have questions.

Former HOA President
GeorgeS21
(Florida)

Posts:2681


05/14/2020 7:15 AM  
7 year old post.
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Forums > Homeowner Association > HOA Discussions > CA HOA cluster mailboxes - who is responsible



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