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HOA Board Member Access to Homeowner Mailboxes?

*Asked & Answeredhoa law firm

AskedDoes our HOA Board President have the right to access our locked mailboxes in order to put a name card on the box?

Answered – No. There are no Federal statutory provisions specifically addressing this situation; however, no one except the homeowner or the postal worker is allowed to open the homeowner’s locked mailbox or even possess the keys. The logical question then becomes why would a Board even have access to locked homeowner mailboxes, notwithstanding any maintenance obligations the HOA may have with respect to the mailbox’s supporting structures. Such access likely violates a homeowner’s privacy expectations. If in using the name cards the Board is seeking to deliver mail matter to homeowners without paying postage, that itself constitutes a violation subject to fine under 18 U.S.C. 1725: “Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter…on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or delivery of mail matter…with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title.”

HOA Boards of Directors should recognize the potential liability that attends violations of state and federal statutes. HOA Boards of Directors should thus consult with the HOA’s legal counsel in situations where the Board’s authority to engage in some desired activity is not clearly provided for in the HOA’s governing documents.

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