Autumn 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? You can burn them. That’s a pretty popular method of disposing of unwanted leaves. But as a Brainerd rental property owner, should you really allow your tenants to do that? Should you let them be the ones to group all the leaves 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 teach your tenant safe and proper leaf disposal, you’re lessening your risk and protecting both your tenant and your property from harm.
Any sort of open flame 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 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 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. You can have a small amount of wind blow and it will 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. If things don’t go as planned and someone does get injured or if the property is damaged, then that puts you in a tough position. As the property owner, you may be held liable for medical costs, legal fees, and other related expenses. Now if you added that amount with the amount you’ll need to get all the repairs done on your rental home, you’ll see that the potential cost is just too high. The risk of incurring such a huge cost 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, 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— released when burning leaves— go up and into the atmosphere. It has been shown to be bad for the environment as it negatively impacts both local and global ecosystems. 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. A lot of property owners shred them with a mulching lawnmower. By doing this, they can drastically reduce the number of fallen leaves they need to rake. This method can help manage the number of leaves that have to be removed by turning it into fertilizer for your lawn instead. Another option is composting. If your property is big enough and you have an unused corner or area that’s far from the house, think about composting 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 the fallen leaves on your Brainerd rental property are being raked up and properly disposed of. Because if you just leave them all over the ground, safety issues will crop up and attract pests and kill your landscape. But leaf disposal must be done in a manner that does not create additional liability. At Real Property Management Deluxe, 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 218-454-7368.
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