A change in how four Bowling Green apartment complexes receive mail has led to them suing the U.S. Postal Service and the local postmaster in federal court.
Campus Pointe, Hilltop Club, Midtown and The Crown Apartments have joined in a lawsuit, which was filed last week in U.S. District Court, against the postal service and Postmaster Andrea Forsythe.
The apartment complexes claim the postal service began delivering mail in bulk last month to the property management and leasing offices of each complex, a change in the previous practice of delivering individually to tenants’ mailboxes.
The change happened because the USPS reclassified the apartments as dormitories, for which the USPS’ Postal Operations Manual sets out that deliveries of mail to dorms or other student housing are made in bulk to a representative of the dorms, according to the lawsuit.
Attorney Brian Lowder, who represents Hilltop Club, Campus Pointe and The Crown, said management of the apartment complexes did not agree to the change, which went into effect Dec. 7, and has refused to accept mail deliveries.
As a result, tenants at these complexes have had to travel to the post office to receive their mail.
“There’s folks that don’t have transportation and rely on mail being delivered to their property,” Lowder said. “People get their medications delivered, get important legal notices, pay their rent through the mail. Several of my clients haven’t received their tenants’ rent, at least not timely.”
Though the apartment complexes are marketed to and heavily populated by Western Kentucky University students, the properties are not owned by WKU.
“Nevertheless, defendants seemingly take the arbitrary and absurd position that because of the properties’ proximity to WKU and the fact that they primarily market to WKU students, they have some level of affiliation with WKU and should be classified as dormitories for the purpose of mail delivery,” Lowder said in the lawsuit.
Susan Wright, spokeswoman for the USPS, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.
Lowder and attorney Tad Pardue, representing Midtown, are seeking an injunction that would require the USPS to stop its bulk mail deliveries at the affected apartments and go back to its previous practice of individual deliveries.
In a filing supporting their motion for the injunction, the attorneys said management at the apartment complexes has received complaints from tenants about the change in mail delivery.
“Unaware of whose fault it is that they are not receiving mail, tenants have become increasingly disgruntled and hostile toward plaintiffs causing a strain in their business relationships,” Lowder said in the motion.
A host of difficulties residents have experienced because of the impasse are detailed in the motion.
Some residents have arranged to have mail delivered via private carrier or to a different address and using overnight UPS shipping for certain documents, while other tenants without vehicles have had to arrange for transportation or walk to the post office.
“One (resident) was unable to retrieve mail regarding a scheduled court date and a bench warrant was issued for his or her arrest because of a failure to appear,” Lowder said in the motion for the injunction.
On Jan. 7, a Hilltop Club employee filed a report with the Bowling Green Police Department claiming that when she went to the post office a few days earlier to pick up the mail for the complex, a postal worker said someone else had come to the post office and gotten the mail.