Action 9 goes to work for disabled vet denied a mailbox

by: Todd Ulrich Updated:

ORLANDO,Fla. - A disabled veteran claims he can't get mail at a condo he's renting because the association only allows owners to use the mailboxes. Todd Ulrich asks if the condo association has gone too far and what rights renters have.

Every day's a struggle for Navy veteran Ricky Hill. After renting the condo he never expected another battle just to get his mail.

“You've seen your mailbox?” asked Ulrich. 

“Yes,” replied Hill, “I thought I would have access to it.”

He's a renter, paying a power and cable bill at that address and has a one year lease.

But at the clubhouse, managers told him the Venetian Bay Villages Condo Association only allows unit owners, not renters, to use the onsite mailboxes.

“The office is saying we're not giving you a key because you can't receive mail here, even though I live here,” said Hill.

Managers said his only option is to rent a PO Box at the nearest post office.

“I'm disabled. I'm a vet. I can't drive, so I can't go,” said Hill. He says some mail was returned to senders, including prescriptions he needs after suffering a stroke. “That's not good for me.”

After calling Action 9, Todd Ulrich tried to get answers from condo managers. “I'm here about Ricky Hill, he’s a disabled veteran,” said Ulrich.

“They don't allow us to get mail here,” said the manager.

“Renters can't get mail here?” asked Ulrich as the manager was shaking his head.

The property manager said the condo association would explain why it had that rule, suggesting it was forced to.

But homeowner and condo association experts Todd Ulrich talked to said the policy makes no sense, since the condo owners can't restrict basic rights any tenant would have.

“Tenants have all the right to the common areas that the homeowner has,” said attorney Barbara Stage.

There's state law protections; then, for residents like Ricky, there's fair housing and the disabled regulations.

“Hey, this is a problem, there needs to be a solution,” said Hill.

The condo association said the US Postal Service refused to deliver to short-term renters, but the agency told Action 9 that someone with a one-year lease is entitled to mail service.

Ricky Hill also contacted state regulators.

Venetian Bay Villages issued the following response:

"The US Post office has classified Venetian Bay Villages a short-term rental property and, as such, does not deliver mail to the residents, whether short-term or long-term. The board of directors of Venetian Bay Villages is doing everything in its power to change this, working with the post office and the state legislators to hopefully allow mail delivery to its residents."