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Can the Post Office Hold my Mail Without Permission?

The answer is yes, the Post Office can hold your mail without permission.

The postal staff has the right to hold mail for a number of reasons. In this short guide, we will look into the circumstances where the postal service will hold your mail without your permission.

We will also go through the steps you might need to take to have your mail delivered again as normal.

Let’s take a look.

Reasons the Post Office Holds Mail Without Permission?

Can the Post Office Hold my Mail Without Permission

The post office will hold mail without permission for the following reasons:

Safety Issues

If gaining access to your mailbox is deemed to be a safety concern, the postman will not deliver and will hold your mail instead. 

This could be anything from a vicious dog on the grounds of the property to the mailbox being in a position that is unsafe to access.

A high probability of theft is another consideration that falls within safety issues.

Mailbox Full

full mailbox overflowing with mail

The postman will not deliver and will instead hold your mail if your mailbox is too full. This is reasonable as it means more mail cannot fit inside.

Accumulating mail is also an indication that the homeowner has moved with no forwarding address.

The post office may hold items under these circumstances until advised otherwise.

Mailbox Damaged

If the mailbox is damaged and this prevents access or could lead to mail being stolen, it can be placed on hold rather than delivered.

If the condition of the mailbox means that mail could suffer damage from incremental weather, it will also be held.

Mailbox Access Blocked

no access to address

Simply having bins in front of your mailbox or access blocked due to parked vehicles will also prevent the post office from delivering.

Without permission, they will hold your mail instead.

Any sort of obstruction that prevents USPS staff from delivering to your mailbox can cause a hold.

Wrong Mailbox or Incorrect Position

Believe it or not but there are strict guidelines on the size, height, and other attributes of a mailbox.

There are legal requirements in terms of the position outside of your home too.

Even if you have been successfully receiving mail for years, a different postman that is maybe less lenient can hold your mail if you haven’t followed the rules. 

How to Ensure your Mail is no Longer Held Without your Permission

Can the Post Office Hold my Mail Without Permission

The first step to stopping the post office from placing your mail on hold is to check each of the points above. 

If you have fallen foul of any of them, rectify the situation.

Is there any reason your postman cannot reach your mailbox due to safety? Do you own a dog that roams the yard and could be considered a threat?

Is your mailbox full? Ensure that you empty it frequently of junk mail or any other items that may end up inside. Do not give the postman any reason to not be able to deliver.

Watch out for any obstructions; bins, parked cars, a fallen tree, or whatever it is that might be blocking your mailbox, and make efforts to clear the path.

The best way to stop the post office from holding your mail without your permission is to not give them any reason to do so.

Mailbox Placement

mailbox placement according to USPS
Mailbox Placement Guidance from USPS website

Your mailbox in the wrong location can be a more difficult problem to solve. I recommend that you visit this USPS webpage. It gives instructions on exactly how to install your mailbox.

You might also want to contact your local post office to ask if there are any special circumstances regarding your mailbox.

If you are moving it, ask that they come out and do an inspection on where the mailbox should be placed.

Eliminate any potential dispute by asking the post office directly what the issue is.

Contact your local Post Office

woman on mobile phone

Why exactly the post office is choosing to hold your mail rather than deliver can also be cleared up by talking to the post office directly.

Some postmen will leave a note in the mailbox to help clarify why your mail is being held without your permission.

Whether this is the case or not, you should still contact the post office for an explanation of why the hold is in place.

Essentially, if you follow the steps explained above as well as follow any advice the post office is able to provide, your mail will no longer be held and you will be receiving items as normal in no time.

8 thoughts on “Can the Post Office Hold my Mail Without Permission?”

  1. My Mother’s mail is being held. She has moved from one Alf to another Alf.
    St Anne’s Miami Florida to Fountain View in West Palm Beach
    And she’s been told that they do not release the mail from a nursing home. She had previously moved from the Palace to St Anne’s and had her mail forwarded to her new residence. I find this to be creating a hardship for my mother and delaying much needed funds that were mailed to her. Everyone should always work in the best interest of the elderly and not create an unnecessary hardship. Please advise or the steps to address this urgent matter.
    Elsie Virginia Ruiz

  2. Can the post master say No to delivering my mail after i provided a proper mail box in front of my residential curb? Neighbors all around our blocks get theirs but they said NO to us. Can they do that?

  3. Local mail delivery in Halifax, VA is very unreliable. Mail can arrive anytime between 10 am and 9 pm, or not at all. Mail delivery often gets delayed and packages are often misrouted.

  4. I put in a COA 3 times. I move around a lot, it’s just who I am. I moved from Minnesota to Yakima Wa. This is the first time in my 70 years I’ve had so much trouble. I just feel like telling them to go ahead, keep my mail. Now for the fourth time I have to go to the post office and show my ID again. When I’m done, I’m going to do everything thing I can to never buy stamps or deal with usps. It’s just the condition of our country. It’s become an unprofessional, anger, evil crime ridden country.

  5. Can the post office rightfully withhold federal correspondence (i.e. social security check) from a disabled elderly person who lives in a place where the city does not offer her a mailbox at her home but instead a free PO Box she is supposed to reapply for annually but forgot? She missed her reapplication deadline and as a result they’re withholding her stack of mail and insisting she pay $25 to have it released. This seems unreasonable to me given she lives month to month off of her assistance and currently lacks even $25 to get a USPS location to do its designated duties without even leaving their brick & mortar. This is ludicrous.

  6. Got a new mail delivery person. She stated everybody has to make their mail boxes taller because she is to short. Now she is stating that the mailboxes have to be closer to the road. It’s rural and without fail many mailboxes get knocked out with the snowplows. It wasnt a problem for 15yrs and my mailbox is within Federal guidelines. In fact I used to always give out Christmas gifts to them. Now I just rent a PO Box because of the ongoing idiocy.


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