If your clients don’t have a mailbox on their property, they might get mail from a cluster box: a centralized unit of individually locked compartments.
When your clients move, what happens to their mailbox key? Does the mailbox key convey to the next owner? Yes, according to Paragraph 2C of the One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale) (TXR 1601, TREC 20-14). That paragraph lists mailbox keys as accessories that convey to the buyer.
If the box is privately owned, your seller clients simply give the keys to the new owners.
However, if the U.S. Postal Service owns the box, the Postal Service would like the keys back.
According to the Postal Service, sellers should return old mailbox keys when they move. Sellers who intend to do so should make sure those keys are listed as an exclusion under Paragraph 2D of the One to Four Family Residential Contract (Resale) to ensure that the keys do not convey with the property. After receiving the keys, the Postal Service then changes the lock and issues three new keys to the new postal customer.
If the new owners receive keys from the sellers, they should return those keys to the Postal Service and get new ones.
New residents can request keys at their local post office with closing papers along with a government-issued ID. No key deposits are required, but there is a $25 fee to replace lost keys.
How do you know if your cluster box is privately owned or owned by the Postal Service? There is no easy way to tell, but in most cases, apartment complexes and multi-housing properties manage their own privately owned boxes. Subdivision cluster boxes could be managed by the Postal Service or an HOA, depending on the agreement with the developer at the time of installation.
Source: Texas REALTORS®