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Should Your Columbia Tenants be Burning Leaves?

A Rake Resting on a Pile of Colorful Autumn LeavesAutumn brings brightly colored trees and piles of fallen leaves. But that raises the question: What are we to do with these fallen leaves once we’ve got them all raked up? One really popular method to dispose of the unwanted leaves is to burn them. But as a Columbia rental property owner, you shouldn’t permit your tenants to be the ones to burn the leaves. Yes, burning the leaves will help dispose of them quickly and it may be really convenient. The drawback is that it could also be a very dangerous task for your tenants to do. 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.

Any sort of open flame carries a certain amount of risk. But there are a number of property owners that think they can minimize the risks by following certain safety precautions. 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 pick 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 aren’t guarantees. If the fire ever gets out of control, you’re still likely to suffer property damage. Especially in dry conditions. A soft breeze may be blowing but that wind would already be enough 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 go awry and someone is injured and/or property gets damaged, things will get difficult for you real fast. As the property owner, you may be held liable for medical costs, legal fees, and other related expenses. On top of those costs, you’ll need to account for the cost of repairs as well. Now, if you add these costs together, you get to see how much you’ll potentially lose. This is so risky that it should strongly discourage you from permitting leaf burning as a disposal method.

These risks alone already provide a compelling reason to ban leaf burning on your rental property but there are even more reasons to back that decision. 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 also get released into the atmosphere and are bad for the environment. It has been shown that burning leaves has a negative impact on both local and global ecosystems. Learning about the drawbacks of burning leaves, some local governments have banned leaf burning outright. Other areas still allow it but they’ve limited 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’ll need to look for other options. There are other safer ways to deal with fallen leaves. Many property owners bought a mulching lawnmower and use it to shred the fallen leaves. This reduces the number of leaves that they need to rake. This process can be helpful since it manages the number of leaves that they need to remove by turning 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 option is really efficient and convenient but it will involve some additional costs.

Whichever method you ultimately choose would be fine for as long as fallen leaves on your Columbia rental property are being raked up and properly disposed of. Because if you don’t, there will be safety issues and you’ll be attracting pests and killing your landscape. You should avoid leaving fallen leaves all over the ground. However, the leaf disposal method you choose must not create additional liability. At Real Property Management Metro, 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. To know more about what we can do for you, please contact us online or give us a ring at 410-290-3285.

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