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Should Your Melville Tenants be Burning Leaves?

A Rake Resting on a Pile of Colorful Autumn LeavesAutumn brings brightly colored trees and piles of fallen leaves. Yes, piles of fallen leaves that we just raked up. This gives rise to the question of what to do with them. You can burn the unwanted leaves. That seems to be a popular disposal method. But as a Melville 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? 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 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 type of open flame carries a certain amount of risk. But there are plenty of property owners that feel they are able to minimize the risks by following certain safety precautions. 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 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. When you have open flames in your property, you risk harming your tenant, their pets, or even strangers who happen to be nearby. It gets worse if the fire grows beyond your property boundaries. 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. In addition to those costs, you’ll also need to add the expense of repairs that you’ll have to do to your rental house. This total is how much you stand to lose and 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 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. After recognizing the drawbacks of burning leaves, some local governments have started banning leaf burning outright. Others didn’t but they lessened it by limiting 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 take a look at other safer ways to take care of those fallen leaves. A number of property owners use a mulching lawnmower to shred the fallen leaves. This reduces how much they’ll have to rake up. 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. 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, which is really very efficient. The drawback, however, is that there will be some additional costs.

Whichever way you think is best would be fine. The priority here is to make sure that the fallen leaves on your Melville rental property are being raked up and properly disposed of. Leaving them all over the ground may result in safety issues while attracting pests and killing your landscape. However, the leaf disposal method you choose must not create additional liability. At Real Property Management Landmark, we can be the ones to take care of the more time-intensive tasks – including leaf disposal – freeing up your time so you can focus on building and growing your real estate investing business. If you want to know more about what we can do to serve you, don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 516-522-2859.

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