This is an on-going struggle for me with the management of my apartment building.
In the past, the manager has instructed the USPS mail carrier to return-to-sender my mail, because it was addressed to a name that is sufficiently different from my legal name.
For one such mailpiece, the mail carrier placed it in my box, but with a big question mark written with Sharpie next to the name. I wrote a note for the mail carrier on a photocopy of the front of the mailpiece showing the question mark. My note said, "Yes, please deliver this mail." On the same photocopy, the mail carrier wrote a reply to me: "Can't, name not on lease."
Soon after, I received an email from the manager, with a scanned image of my photocopy/note as an attachment. In part, the email said
We informed the carrier that we do not have any documentation for a resident by that name, and that their mail should continue to be returned.
The email went on to say that if I have a roommate (I don't, see below), then that person needs to be added to the lease (which costs more money). I replied truthfully that there is no other person living in my apartment and invited management to check the security video. I added that I don't appreciate management interfering with my mail.
Later the manager backpedaled. Even though his first email stated that he instructed the mail carrier to return the mail, his reply said,
All I did was inform USPS that you were the only party on the lease. Any decision to return mail was made by the carrier.
I asked on /r/USPS whether I should be able to get mail delivered to a pseudonym if I live in an apartment building. There were replies on both sides, but wzombie13 cited the rule book,
Deliver mail according to the instructions or known desire of the addressee. [Line 131.35, Handbook M-41: City Delivery Carriers Duties and Responsibilities]
I tried to call the local post office several times over the course of several days, but nobody ever answered. The line rings and rings and then eventually clicks off, and eventually I stopped trying.
Fast-forward to now, I am renewing my lease, and the lease agreement has been amended,
Residents agree that the receipt of mail by any individual not listed as a Resident or Occupant in this Agreement at the Leased Premises shall be proof of occupancy of that individual and a violation of this Agreement.
I had privacy concerns even before this (the mail carrier really shouldn't have let my landlord scan my mail, and the landlord also shouldn't be releasing my private information to the mail carrier). The current manager claims it is USPS policy to deliver only to the name on the lease, but I think this clause of the contract belies that. I do not believe it is appropriate for my landlord to monitor my mail, and this lease expects me to waive any right to the privacy of my mail by agreeing to let the landlord use mail delivery as a mechanism of enforcement.
I have argued that this is Obstruction of Mail (18 U.S. Code § 1701) because I am prevented from receiving mail that a homeowner, as opposed to a tenant, would be able to receive, and Obstruction of Correspondence (18 U.S. Code § 1702) because the landlord is "prying into [my] business." But they won't change any language of the lease agreement (these professional management companies never do, no matter how ridiculously badly the form contract fits the reality of the apartment building).
As an aside, I'll outline my personal reasons for wanting to receive mail under different names, because I know people will question my motives. But I believe there are many other valid reasons for wanting this, and this question is not about whether my own justification is valid. Rather, I am seeking legal arguments to back up my intuitive belief that my mail is simply none of my landlord's business.
As a protective measure against identity theft, I use different names in situations where I feel using my real name is not necessary. A simple example is buying online. I need to use my real address if I want to receive the physical thing I am buying. But from a purely practical standpoint, there is no need for my real name to get stored indefinitely in the seller's database, which is probably not secure. Even large corporations that spend millions on information security are commonly hacked, so it is far more effective for me to withhold my personal information than to rely on sellers -- whether big or small -- to secure their systems. Since it is the combination of my real name and real address that is valuable to an identity thief, using a different name prevents the proliferation of the valuable combination.