USPS Approved Mailboxes - FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
These questions and answers apply to multi-unit mailboxes in the United States, such as the one pictured at right.
Q: I lost my mailbox key. Can I get a new mailbox key from the Post Office?
A: No, you cannot get a new mailbox key from the Post Office. The Post Office owns the USPS lock located usually in the middle of the bank of boxes (see illustration at right). The individual box locks and the keys that fit them are owned by the landlord, condo association, coop, or individual condo owner.
Q. How can I get a new mailbox key?
B. There are a couple of ways you can get a new mailbox key.
- You can hire a locksmith to replace your mailbox lock.
- You can work with your mail delivery person to get the code number off of the back of your lock. A locksmith can cut a key using this code. Getting a key cut by code usually costs a fraction of what it costs for a locksmith service call. In order to get the code number, you will need a mirror and a flashlight. When the mail delivery person comes, they will open the bank of mailboxes. You will be able to reach down into your mailbox with the mirror, shine the flashlight, and read the number from from the back of the lock. Be sure to have a piece of paper and a pen so you can write it down!
Q. I am building a multi-unit dwelling and will purchase a bank of mailboxes. How do I get the USPS Lock?
A. After you install the mailboxes, call the manager of the Post Office that serves the zip code in which your building is located and request to have a postal lock put in. The manager will arrange for a USPS technician to come out and install the USPS lock.
Q. Can I get mailbox locks keyed alike, or master keyed?
A. Postal regulations require that locks in the same bank of mailboxes be keyed differently. No USPS approved mailbox locks are master keyed.
Q. I want to improve the security of my building by locking the vestibule, but the mailboxes are in the vestibule, inside the outer front door. How will I give access to the mail delivery person?
A. You can put an electric strike on the outer front door, and have that electric strike activated by a switch that is operated by a postal lock. Or you can install a metal box, called a postal key keeper, that is locked with a postal lock and contains a key to the outer front door. After you install the postal switch or key keeper, contact the manager of your Post Office to arrange to have the postal lock installed.
In the case of the key keeper:
- Install the key keeper
- Have the Postal lock installed
- Give your key to the mail carrier so that they can put it inside the key keeper.