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Should Your Lutherville-Timonium 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 prompts the question: What do we do with these fallen leaves now that we’ve raked them up? You can burn the unwanted leaves. That seems to be a popular disposal method. But as a Lutherville-Timonium rental property owner, you shouldn’t allow your tenants to be the ones to gather their leaves and burn them. While it is true that burning the leaves will help dispose of them quickly, it is also true that handling an open flame is a dangerous task. The risk you expose yourself to is not worth the convenience. However, if you make sure they learn proper and safe leaf disposal, you’re protecting them from harm. You’re also protecting your property at the same time.

Open flame, no matter what type, 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. One such precaution is to burn fallen leaves on a clear patch of dirt with no overhanging branches or power lines. Property owners would prepare this area beforehand. 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 guarantee safety. If the fire gets out of control, you may still have to deal with 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. Open flames may also harm your tenants, their pets, or even other people nearby. And the risk gets even bigger if the fire grows beyond your property boundaries. If luck is against you and injury or property damage does occur, you’ll be placed in a tough situation. 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.

While the risks alone provide a compelling reason, there are other points that give even more reasons to ban leaf burning on your rental property. For instance, 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— 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. 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 shred them with a mulching lawnmower. This greatly reduces 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 is quite efficient but there will be some additional costs.

No matter how you get it done, it’s important to make sure that the fallen leaves on your Lutherville-Timonium 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. However, the method of your leaf disposal must not create additional liability. At Real Property Management Essentials, we can tackle the more time-consuming tasks – including leaf disposal – while you use your valuable time to deal with the other aspects of your real estate investing business.  Don’t hesitate to contact us online or give us a ring at 410-832-3138 to know more about what we can do for you.

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