Don’t Buy a House too Close to the Post Office: The Costs of Not Getting Your Mail Delivered

Mail Box of the Portuguese Post Office (CTT)

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(Stands on soapbox)

Ever heard of the rule where if you live too close to a post office, the post office doesn’t have to deliver your mail? I learned about it after buying my current home, a mere 5 houses away from the local post office, or one house short of a trouble free postal experience.

The post office doesn’t deliver the mail to my house. Instead, they give me a free post office box and I have to walk five houses down to pick up my mail, Walnut Grove style. Inconvenient, but it is not really the problem. No, the trouble is that this world is biased against PO boxes and those with different mailing/physical addresses.

Here’s an example of why the world discriminates against us “who live too close to the post office” types.

Why I Can’t Show Proof of Residency

Thursday, my boss asks if I have my passport. “I need you to go up to the Canada office for some training in two weeks,” he tells me. I don’t have my passport. It would be expensive and take too long to get one for the training, but I had the solution; an enhanced license.

An enhanced license is simply a beefed up drivers license that allows you to travel out of country to Canada and Mexico so long as you are driving. I’m a mere hour and a half away from Canada, so it’s a perfect solution. There was this little problem with my perfect plan.  My PO box prevents me from showing proof of residency.

When getting an enhanced license you need to prove citizenship, identity, birth and residency. There is a long list of potential residency proofs and you need to show two of them. You can show a W2, a utility bill or your pay stub; just to name a few.

When I brought my proof of residency to the DMV, I was told that none of it was valid. My proof of residency could not have my PO box on any of it. Even my water bill, which provided the service address of my physical address could not be used because it was mailed to my PO.

The helpful DMV representative (sarcasm off) pointed at the offending PO address, “all you need is a bill that has your physical address and not your PO box.”

After I explained that all of my documents, that are mailed to me, have my PO box. So she handed me an affidavit for my wife to sign. My spouse could attest to my residency for one of my proofs. That just left me with one more proof to find.

“How about the title on your mortgage,” the DMV rep suggested. This would be a great idea, if I had my title. You see, no one told me that the post office wouldn’t deliver to my house initially. At first, I had all my mail going to my physical address, which the post office promptly sent packing back to the sender with a message “no such address.” My title was one of those documents. Since I had to pay for a copy, I haven’t replaced it yet.

Other Problems from Not Having the Mail Delivered

Sadly, this is just one of many examples of problems I’ve had. There have been missing jury notices, lost car titles and the worst, a notice from my wife’s employer that caused her to miss a seminar. My bank will not send me a replacement credit card, because they won’t mail to a PO. Only a minor inconvenience because many banks will mail to a dog house if you put it down. Some friends of ours that were in the same situation, nearly lost their health care coverage because of the no mail delivery policy.

Not being able to have my mail delivered to my house has cost me countless hours of runaround and money replacing important documents. If you are in the market for a new home, take notice of how close a potential house is to your post office and make sure they deliver before you buy. No one should have to live the life of post office box discrimination.

(Steps off soapbox)

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