Redbook Blues - Packages, Boxes, & Bags

Posted By: Nicole Zaitoon Legislative Updates,

I love Christmas.  It is my favorite time of the year:  lights, trees, decorations, shopping, and presents. And food – lots of food, especially cookies!   The holidays are also busy and, at times, personally and professionally stressful for AATC members. From company parties to resident events and guests on property and children  out of school, our on-site teams can get overwhelmed this time of year.  The following are industry best practices and operational tips to deal with one of those holiday stressors:  packages!

As always, this article will provide you with resources  to help you navigate the operational issues regarding mail and package deliveries on your properties. This REDBOOK Blues article does not provide legal advice.  If you need legal advice, contact one of AATC’s member attorneys ( 

Per usual, the TAA REDBOOK contains guidance on mail boxes and package deliveries. Click on the following link to learn about legal and operational issues concerning mailboxes:

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) regulations require more secure mailboxes, larger amil receptacles, and increase the size of parcel lockers.  The following is a summary of the above REDBOOK article on mailboxes:

A. Reason for Change

The tremendous growth in parcel deliver to residential properties is the primary reason for these updates.  The USPS regulations are intended to deter mail theft by ensuring that packages are securely stored until a resident can retrieve them. 

B. Crime Prevention – Identity Theft

Identity theft continues to increase (review last month’s Red Book Blues article Identity Fraud to learn about ways to prevent this crime).  The USPS also developed these new mailbox standards to combat rising identity theft and mail fraud. Mail theft continues to be an easy and frequent means used by identity thieves to get personal information to begin identity fraud scams.

C. Federal Regulations – Construction & Renovation

In 2004, the federal government changed the dimension requirements for mailboxes and mail centers in properties built after 2006.  These changes also impact mail receptacle areas that are part of a property renovation.  

Operations tip:  Before constructing, renovating, or purchasing a new central mailbox unit, make sure that your construction/maintenance team checks with the contractor and supplier to make sure the product design has been approved by the USPS.

D. Properties Built Before 2006

Existing properties (i.e., properties built before 2006) are not required to retrofit current mailboxes to meet the most recent mailbox standards and are not required to change the method of mail delivery to the property unless a renovation occurs (see above).

Operations tip:   If your capital expenditure budget allows, consider adding more than one package locker center on your property.  

  • The USPS Std-4c Mailbox Specifications
  • Mail box dimensions : 3"H x 12"W x 15"D ; 
  • Requires outgoing mail compartment in central mailbox unit;
  • Requires parcel lockers: 1:10 locker-to-mailbox ratio; 
  • Strengthens security requirements for mailboxes;
  • Standardizes and improves individual compartment customer lock design;
  • Adds testing and approval requirements for mailbox manufacturers; and 
  • Requires mailbox units to comply with ADA.

The TAA Lease also helps AATC members navigate and manage the increase in package deliveries during the holiday season.   TAA’s general counsel highly recommends the use of the “Community Polices Addendum” to the TAA Lease.  This lease form contains the below provision:

Package Services. We do or we do not accept packages on behalf of residents. If we DO accept packages, you give us permission to sign and accept any parcels or letters you receive through UPS, Federal Express, Airborne, United States Postal Service or other package delivery services. You agree that we are not liable or responsible for any lost, damaged or unordered deliveries and will hold us harmless.

Operational Tip:  If you receive and store packages for residents that are not placed in lockers in the mail/package center (e.g., your staff stores them in the office, business center, club room, etc.) use the “Special Provisions” section of the Community Policies Addendum to add a fee for packages not retrieved with a specified time period (i.e., 3 days).  

AATC owner/operator members might consider contacting one of AATC’s supplier partners that specialize in package/parcel management.  To see a list of AATC member supplier partners who provide this service, to on the following link:

The rules, regulations, and operational challenges concerning parcels and packages  can be successfully managed by adhering to the USPS regulations, using the TAA Lease Community Policies Addendum, and partnering with an AATC member supplier partner.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!   

Nicole Zaitoon, Allied Property Management, is AATC’s 2023 Government Affairs Committee Chair and a member of AATC’s Board of Directors.