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Should Your River Park Tenants be Burning Leaves?

A Rake Resting on a Pile of Colorful Autumn LeavesAutumn brings brightly colored trees and piles of fallen leaves. But now we’ve got this huge pile of leaves that we’ve just raked up, so we ask the question: What do we do with them? One thing you can do is to burn the unwanted leaves. That’s a popular disposal method. But as a River Park rental property owner, you shouldn’t be okay with letting your tenants burn their leaves themselves.  True, burning leaves will help dispose of them quickly and it is very convenient as well. The downside is that it could be a dangerous task and you could be risking a lot if you allow them to do it. However, if you teach your tenant safe and proper leaf disposal, you’re lessening your risk and protecting both your tenant and your property from harm.

Open flame, no matter what sort, carries a certain amount of risk. But there are a lot of property owners that believe that if they follow certain safety precautions, they can minimize the risks. For example, some property owners would burn their fallen leaves on a clear patch of dirt with no overhanging branches or power lines. Then they’ll decide on a day that falls within a permitted burn timeline set by local governmental agencies, when winds are calm, and keep a garden hose on hand in case the flames get out of control.

However, precautions and guarantees aren’t the same things. If the fire gets out of control, then you may still get property damage. Especially in dry conditions, even just a tiny gust of wind can carry sparks into dry foliage, sparking dry grasses and other materials that are often abundant during the fall. Open flames can be really dangerous for your tenants, their pets, or even passers-by who just happen to be there. And the danger level skyrockets if the fire grows beyond your property boundaries. In the unfortunate event that injury or property damage does happen, then you’ll be in a tough spot. As the property owner, you may be held liable for medical costs, legal fees, and other related expenses. Now, add that cost to the cost of materials and labor for the repairs you’ll have to do. This is what you’ll potentially lose if things don’t go your way. This high risk should strongly discourage you from permitting leaf burning as a disposal method.

These risks alone provide a compelling reason to ban leaf burning on your rental property. But it’s not the only reason; there’s more. For example, the smoke from burning leaves can produce toxic gases that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, and even trigger respiratory distress in individuals with asthma or other conditions. Those same toxic gases are also released into the atmosphere. It’s bad for the environment and has been shown to negatively impact both local and global ecosystems. That’s another reason why burning leaves should be avoided. When the local governments learned about the drawbacks of burning leaves, some of them started banning leaf burning outright. Others may still permit it but they place limitations on it. Some limit it to certain months, designated locations, or to a certain size. Violating these municipal restrictions can result in fines and other legal consequences.

When burning leaves is a bad idea, you need to figure out other safer ways to clear those fallen leaves. Many property owners reduce the number of fallen leaves that they have to rake. Instead, they use a mulching lawnmower to shred them. When you do this you can help manage the number of leaves that need to be removed by turning it into fertilizer for your lawn instead. Another option is to try composting. If your property is nice and big, you could go to an unused corner and compost your fallen leaves there. A third option is to hire a clean-up crew to come and haul your fallen leaves away. There will be additional costs but it is effective and very convenient.

Whichever way you want to do it would be good. The important thing is that your fallen leaves on your River Park rental property are being raked up and properly disposed of. The consequences of leaving them all over the ground would be safety issues, attracting pests and killing your landscape. But the kind of leaf disposal program you choose must be one that does not create additional liability. At Real Property Management Platinum, we can deal with the more time-consuming tasks – including leaf disposal – allowing you to spend more time on things that matter more, like building and developing your real estate investing business. Feel free to contact us online or by phone at 559-425-8550. We’ll be glad to answer any of your questions.

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. See Equal Housing Opportunity Statement for more information.