HOUSTON – Some homeowners in Copperfield say neither their homeowner’s association nor the postal service will replace their mailboxes after a driver damaged them beyond repair last week.
Long-time Southcreek Village homeowner Rita Hoffman said the cluster box unit (CBU) that she shares with 10 other neighbors was destroyed last Monday.
“I understand that somebody just ran into the mailbox and took out the tree in front of it,” Hoffman said.
For a week, Hoffman said she and her neighbors have had to drive 10 minutes to the Bear Creek post office branch to pick up their mail.
“Well, I went to the post office and I asked them for a copy of the contract with the subdivision and they gave me the language,” she said. “The post office is responsible for the locks and the keys inside the device. They are not responsible for the device.”
Judith Carey, a representative for the Southcreek Village Homeowners Association, told KPRC2 over the phone that replacing the units will cost nearly $1,500 and should be worked out between the homeowners and USPS.
“The post office installed those boxes and over the past 30+ years they’ve been repairing and replacing them,” Carey said.
In a letter USPS sent Hoffman, the agency cited its rules and says residents of Southcreek Village or the HOA can purchase and install an approved CBU directly from a USPS-approved manufacturer.
“There is nothing in writing that makes the HOA have any responsibility for these cluster box units. It’s not in any of our governing documents,” Carey said. “These boxes are still federal property. My understanding with it being federal property is that they need to be listed that way to enforce prosecution for anybody that tampered with boxes.”
Carey said in the past USPS would fix or replace the units per the request of other homeowners. The HOA volunteer said the postal service won’t allow homeowners in the subdivision to have individual mailboxes in their yards.
“The post office has said they will not change the mode of delivery because that’s something that the board has looked at as far as guidelines for homeowners to have individual mailboxes, so they’re responsible for the cost of their mailbox if anything should happen,” Carey said.
Hoffman said she still believes her HOA is responsible for the replacement.
“This is a common area,” Hoffman added. “When a fence in a common area comes down do they bill it for more money? No, they don’t. They need to replace this.”
She said if it comes down to the homeowners splitting the cost, it won’t be without a fight.
“We may have to cough up the money, I hope not, but after that, I still intend to fight it,” she said.
So who is responsible for the cluster box unit? KPRC2 Investigates explains: KPRC 2 Investigates cluster mailbox mess: No mail delivery for months in one neighborhood