Autumn 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 an East Rockaway rental property owner, should you permit your tenants to do it themselves? Would it be safe to let them gather all their leaves together then set a match to it and burn them? It is true that burning the leaves will dispose of them quickly and it’s also very convenient. The difficulty comes with the liability you’re exposing yourself to. You can’t let your tenants do a dangerous task without risk. However, if you see to it that your tenant knows about safe and proper leaf disposal, you’ll be saving yourself from a lot of risks. Educating them will help protect them and your property from harm.
Open flame, no matter what sort, carries a certain amount of risk. But there are many property owners that think that if they follow certain safety precautions, they can minimize risk. For example, some property owners would gather up their fallen leaves and place them in a clear patch of dirt with no overhanging branches or power lines. This would be the place they’d burn them. Then they’ll select 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 don’t mean guarantee. If the fire gets out of control, it will still cause property damage. Especially in dry conditions. There can be a soft breeze blowing and that would be enough wind to carry sparks into dry foliage, sparking dry grasses and other materials that are often abundant during the fall. Whenever there are open flames, you’re risking the safety of your tenant, their pets, or even other people that just happen to be nearby. And if the fire isn’t contained and grows beyond your property boundaries, your risk escalates quickly. If things don’t go as smoothly as intended and someone suffers an injury or if there is property damage, then you’ll be in a predicament. As the property owner, you may be held liable for medical costs, legal fees, and other related expenses. You’ll have to add the cost of that liability with the cost of the repairs to fix up your rental home. That potential cost is just very risky that it should strongly discourage you from permitting leaf burning as a disposal method.
These risks alone already provide a compelling reason but there are still other reasons why you should ban leaf burning on your rental property. For example, burning leaves can produce smoke that may contain 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. Some local governments recognize the drawbacks of burning leaves and have outright banned leaf burning. Others haven’t gone as far as banning them but 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 have to study other safer ways to remove 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. This manages the number of leaves that need to be removed since this approach turns it into fertilizer for your lawn instead. The next option is composting. If you’ve got a property that is large enough, you should think about it. Select an unused corner away from the house and compost your fallen leaves there. A third option is to hire a clean-up crew to come and haul your fallen leaves away. This is quite efficient but there will be some additional costs.
Whichever method you ultimately choose would be fine for as long as the fallen leaves on your East Rockaway rental property are being raked up and properly disposed of. Leaving them all over the ground brings about safety issues while attracting pests and killing your landscape. But leaf disposal must be done in a manner that does not create additional liability. At Real Property Management Innovation, we can handle some of the more time-consuming tasks – including leaf disposal – giving you more time to focus on other more important tasks you need to do for your real estate investing business. Don’t hesitate to contact us online or give us a ring at 516-570-9275 to know more about what we can do for you.
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