Congress has again started to debate possible solutions to improving the operational efficiency and financial standing of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). This is on the heels of the momentum created by a report released late last year by the Treasury’s Task Force on the U.S. Postal System.
The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and the National Apartment Association (NAA) are engaged in this debate because some legislative and administrative proposals could impact how apartment communities receive USPS mail and package deliveries.
NMHC and NAA submitted letters to the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform this week asking lawmakers to consider how changes to mail delivery policy could impact apartment operations and the services received by residents.
As previously reported, NMHC and NAA are concerned about legislative proposals that would mandate a move to centralized delivery for both new and existing addresses. While USPS policy already favors centralized delivery for new addresses, requiring existing communities to convert to centralized delivery could pose significant challenges.
In addition, the letters outline other considerations including the need for clarity in implementation and enforcement of policies surrounding delivery postal regulations, points of delivery and processes. Local postmasters have broad discretion in how they implement mail delivery policy. This creates confusion and uncertainty for apartment firms that operate in multiple jurisdictions because they must contend with varying interpretations of mail delivery policy.
NMHC and NAA have also asked for assurances about whose responsibility it is to install, maintain and secure new centralized receptacles, and ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)/accessibility requirements. We also expressed the challenges of the mailbox monopoly, which can require some apartment communities to provide two separate delivery spaces for packages – one for USPS and one for other delivery carriers. These challenges, coupled with increasing package deliveries, have forced apartment communities to change how they operate, shift resources, divert staff time and, if possible, expand storage space.
As the debate about postal reform continues, NMHC and NAA will continue to work to ensure that apartment communities’ needs are a priority as Congress considers any changes to USPS mail delivery policy. Such reforms must not be overly burdensome to existing and future apartment communities, which are responsible for meeting a host of design, legal and resident demands.
More information on postal service reform and package delivery can be found here.