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Home » Property Management » How to Avoid Mail Theft and Tampering in Your Rental Property

Online shopping is becoming more and more popular. Apartment lobbies are beginning to look like post offices, with dozens of boxes piling up underneath mailboxes and behind concierge desks. But with this convenience comes the challenge that all landlords have to face: maintaining security in the rental property.

Protect your tenants’ valuable packages from the quick hands of stealthy burglars by following the steps below.

Steps Your Tenant Can Take if a Package is Missing

#1 Rule Out the Possibilities First

1 Rule Out the Possibilities First

Advise your tenant to wait 24 hours before reporting the incident to the shipping company. Sometimes, companies mark packages as “delivered” before they’re actually delivered. Ask your tenant to track their order online and wait until the following day to contact the post office.

Your tenant should also check with their neighbors. In an apartment complex, it’s highly likely for someone to take their neighbor’s package by accident. If you own a small apartment building, advise your tenant to knock on their neighbors’ doors to see if anyone got their package by mistake.

#2 Contact the Shipping Company

2 Contact the Shipping Company

A representative from major shipping companies like UPS, USPS, DHL, and FedEx will be able to help with the case of your tenant’s missing parcel. Oftentimes, these delivery services allow customers to file a report to claim reimbursement. However, this applies only when the shipping company is at fault.

#3 Report the Missing Package to the Property Manager

3 Report the Missing Package to the Property Manager

Ask your tenant to report missing packages to the property manager. This way, the property manager can take swift action, such as monitoring the premises or installing security cameras. Make sure that your tenant can reach you or your property manager through convenient modes of communication, including text, call, and e-mail. If you hired a property management company like Luxury Property Care, your tenants can report incidents through the online portal.

Steps Landlords Can Take to Prevent Mail Theft

#1 Install Security Cameras

1 Install Security Cameras

Porch pirates like to work in the dark. Shed light to your rental property’s main door by installing wireless spotlights that will send thieves running. You can even opt for motion-activated lights for an element of surprise. By installing them at the front of your rental unit (or where packages are usually left), you can scare away anyone who tries to take your tenants’ stuff.

#2 Install Lights

2 Install Lights

Porch pirates like to work in the dark. Shed light to your rental property’s main door by installing wireless spotlights that will send thieves running. You can even opt for motion-activated lights for an element of surprise. By installing them at the front of your rental unit (or where packages are usually left), you can scare away anyone who tries to take your tenants’ stuff.

#3 Ask Tenants to Specify Delivery Instructions

3 Ask Tenants to Specify Delivery Instructions

Many shipping companies allow customers to specify the delivery instructions. For instance, you could request your tenants to ask the delivery person to leave the package at a designated area that is less accessible to the public. Or, you could encourage tenants to create a “package pact” with their friendly neighbors. Coordinate with your tenants to ensure that their packages always arrive at their doorstep.

#4 Install Large Mailboxes

4 Install Large Mailboxes

Packages that get stolen are usually the ones that are left on the floor because they don’t fit inside the resident’s mailbox. One smart way to prevent mail theft in your rental property is by installing a massive mailbox that can accommodate large packages. This is particularly helpful during the holiday season (e.g. Christmas, Black Friday, etc.) as your tenants will likely be expecting multiple deliveries.

#5 Use a Smart Lock

5 Use a Smart Lock

Smart locks are becoming an increasingly popular choice among landlords. If you own a smaller apartment building, you should consider installing a smart lock on your front door. Share a special code among your tenants which they can then give to the delivery guy. This allows the carrier to leave packages in the foyer without gaining access to individual units.

#6 Conduct Regular Inspections

6 Conduct Regular Inspections

Don’t just focus on property repairs and maintenance during your scheduled property inspections. Use the time to spot any security issues, such as a broken lock on a ground floor window. Encourage your tenants to raise concerns they may have about building security. Be sure to address these issues promptly — theft isn’t the only thing you should be worried about. Remember, your tenants’ lives are your responsibility.

#7 Screen Your Tenants

7 Screen Your Tenants

Protect your real estate investment from criminals who are hiding behind the mask of responsible tenants. It is crucial to have a strict tenant screening process where you can review each prospective tenant’s criminal history. Get to know your applicants before you let them inside your rental unit. It takes only one bad tenant to ruin the lives of other residents in your apartment complex.

Are Landlords Responsible for Lost or Stolen Deliveries?

Are Landlords Responsible for Lost or Stolen Deliveries 1
Are Landlords Responsible for Lost or Stolen Deliveries 1

Landlords aren’t responsible for missing packages or deliveries. If tenants lose their mail, the landlord isn’t obligated to reimburse them for the value of the item.

However, the landlord is responsible for securing the property. If you don’t take the necessary measures to secure your apartment building, your tenants may file a petition to demand that you improve the security systems on the property. You should take this matter seriously, as it goes beyond packages being stolen — your tenant could be harmed should they encounter a burglar. By law, landlords are liable for the consequences of criminal acts if it is proven that they did not properly secure the building.

What Happens if a Landlord Takes a Tenant’s Mail?

What Happens if a Landlord Takes a Tenant s Mail
What Happens if a Landlord Takes a Tenant s Mail

After a tenant moves out, their mail can still end up at your rental property’s doorstep. Without a forwarding address, their mail can quickly become a hassle. However, landlords can’t simply dispose of a former tenant’s mail — since mail is considered personal property, mishandling it could lead to serious legal implications.

Under federal law, taking someone’s mail from the original delivery location is considered a felony. This includes withholding, opening, destroying, or throwing away mail that is not addressed to you. To avoid jail time, landlords must handle the situation carefully. For instance, they could write “Return to Sender” on the envelope and drop it back into the mailbox. However, the best thing to do would be to contact the local post office to inform them that the tenant no longer resides at the address.

Bottom Line

If you need help ensuring the security of your tenants’ mail and packages, hiring Luxury Property Care can take the stress off of your shoulders. We have decades of experience in the industry, managing different kinds of properties, including multi-family residences and apartment buildings.

Call us today at (561) – 944 2992 for more information or fill out the contact form to schedule a free assessment.

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