Tip #27

Use a PO Box for Your Rental Properties

Last updated on October 2, 2015 by

Use a PO Box for Rental Properties

Renting a Post Office Box (or PO Box) is a fantastic way create some separation between you and your tenants.  As a landlord, I often need to provide a mailing address – whether it’s to my tenants or service contractors.  However, I don’t want my tenants to have my home address.

Why?  Because I want to protect myself from crazies.

Most tenants are harmless, but every once in a while, you meet a crazy one – I’m talking about a real nut job.  This type of tenant will show up at your home, unannounced, if given the opportunity and curse you for not allowing them to break the lease. They are boundary breakers and don’t have a great sense of right and wrong.

What’s a PO Box?

Standard PO Box

Standard PO Box

A PO Box is a mailbox that you rent at the local post office for a small fee.  They are very inexpensive, starting at $80/year, and allows you to keep your home address hidden. I have one PO box that I give to all my tenants and put in all my leases.

The only negative factor is that I still have to drive to the Post Office to check the mail.  However, I only get snail mail from my tenants a few times a year because I use Cozy to process their electronic rent payments.  Read More about PO Boxes at USPS.com.

Tenants are Customers

I believe, that my tenants are my “customers”, and I don’t think it is appropriate for my customers to know where I live.  Even if you operate your rental business from an office in your home, the PO Box can be used for all mailing correspondences – as should be designated as such in your leases.

Just think, you probably don’t know where your Lawyer, Accountant, or Electrician lives – and believe me, that is intentional.  Being a landlord is no different from any other business.  Your Friends and Family should know where you live – your customers should not.

photo credit: mrjoro via cc
photo credit: robertstinnett via cc
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8 CommentsLeave a Comment

  • Unicor

    Hi Lucas
    I am wondering is there a law that says tenants have to have an address where to serve me in person/ substitute service if they are not in agreement with the refund of their deposit and want to go to court?
    Or the physical address of the po box
    Will do? That is what I have given them in the lease.
    Thanks for your answer

  • Amber

    I was wondering. If a landlord uses a p.o. box for rent when is rent considered “in hand”? Is it considered in hand as soon as it’s delivered to a p.o. box or only once the landlord picks up the mail? I’m in arizona

    • Lucas Hall


      My best guess would be that delivery to the PO box would be adequate. But how are you really proving it unless you are sending it certified. Why not just ask your landlord if you can pay rent online like the rest of your bills? Cozy.co is a great option for that.

  • Jamiel Strickland

    Is it tax-advantages to have your business name in your home address instead of a P.O. box?

    • Lucas Hall

      Hi Jamiel

      I don’t know of any tax advantages of using a PO box. However, The real advantage of using a PO box is that you can keep some privacy.

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