If you live in an apartment building or in a housing complex with a central mailbox, then you probably have a mailbox key. Having a mailbox key means that your letters, magazines, and catalogs are safe and can only be accessed by you.
But what if you’ve lost your mailbox key? Is there a way to replace it? If you’d like to find out, keep reading for the answer to all of your questions on this subject!
What Happens If I Lose My USPS Mailbox Key In 2023?
What you do when your USPS mailbox key is lost will depend on the type of mailbox you use in 2023. In an apartment, contact your landlord. For a PO Box, request a new key directly from the post office. For single-family mailboxes, contact a locksmith or request a new key from the mailbox manufacturer.
If you still have questions about your lost mailbox key, like how much it will cost to replace a lost key, keep reading this guide for more useful facts and tips!
What If You Lose Your Mailbox Key from USPS?
Oh no, you’ve lost your mailbox key! While you’re right to feel worried or annoyed when this happens, mailbox keys are lost on a daily basis, so there’s usually an easy way to replace them.
How you go about replacing a lost mailbox key depends on whether you have a community, local post office, or residential key.
Regardless of your situation, it may be a good idea to place your mail on a temporary hold while you sort out the key issue.
That way you won’t be stressed about your mailbox filling up while you deal with key replacements.
Here’s what to do in each scenario:
1. Lost a Community Key:
Community mailboxes are those used by people who live in apartment complexes or other community settings.
If you’re a tenant and have lost your key, notify your landlord, property manager, or the property owner as soon as possible.
Each community has different rules, so you may be asked to call or email to report the loss.
If you have a community or cluster mailbox that’s associated with the post office directly, you’ll need to contact the post office that oversees your mailbox.
The staff at your local post office will be able to advise you on next steps, but in most cases, you’ll need to fill out a form requesting a replacement key and pay a fee.
2. Lost Your Post Office Key:
When you rent a Post Office Box (PO Box), you should receive 2 keys, so that you have a spare if you lose the main one.
Keep in mind that you cannot duplicate PO Box keys yourself, so you’ll want to make sure not to lose your remaining key.
If you want to make a copy of your remaining key, or if you’ve managed to lose both, you’ll need to fill out USPS Form 1094 to request another copy.
3. Lost a Single-Family Residential Key:
If you live in a home with a locked mailbox and you’ve lost the key, USPS won’t be able to provide much help, because it doesn’t have spare keys for residential boxes.
Thus, you usually have 2 options remaining:
1. Hire a professional locksmith – A locksmith can create new keys for your home box. While this is usually the fastest way to regain access to your mail, it’s certainly not the cheapest option.
Locksmiths will charge for labor and hardware expenses, so over a certain amount, it may be cheaper to purchase a completely new mailbox and key.
2. Contact the manufacturer – Report your missing key to the mailbox manufacturer. The manufacturer may request proof of ownership and charge a small fee, but it should be able to deliver a new key to your house.
This process is much cheaper than hiring a locksmith, but keep in mind that it could take between 3 and 5 days to receive the new key.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Lost USPS Mailbox Key?
Just like the procedure to get a new mailbox key depends on your living situation, so too does the cost.
For those living in a community setting, the cost to replace your mailbox key is set by your landlord or Homeowner’s Association.
If your community mailbox is owned by the post office directly, you will typically have to pay $20 or more for a new key.
For those with a PO Box, the price of a replacement key depends on where you live and the type of box you’re renting. Typically, replacement keys cost about $10.
This includes the refundable key deposit and the key fee.
As a side note, if you still have your PO Box keys, but they’re damaged to the point of not working, the post office will give you a replacement for free.
For those with a single-family mailbox, the cost of replacing a mailbox key will depend on how you go about doing so.
Hiring a locksmith could easily cost $100 or more, depending on where you live, what kind of mailbox you have, the time it takes to replace the lock, and the parts required for the job.
If you choose to go through the manufacturer for a replacement key, you should expect to pay around $10 for a new one.
Losing a mailbox key is a huge hassle, there’s no denying that, but it’s not the end of the world. Depending on your situation, getting a replacement key could be as simple as making a call and paying a few dollars.