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Should Your Apopka 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. One really popular disposal method to get rid of the unwanted leaves is to burn them. But as an Apopka 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 help your tenant learn safe and proper leaf disposal, you’re lowering the risk and protecting both them and your property from harm.

Open flame, no matter what kind, carries a certain amount of risk. But there are a lot of property owners that believe they can minimize the risks by following certain safety precautions. One example is how some property owners would prepare a clear patch of dirt with no overhanging branches or power lines. This is where they’d burn fallen leaves. Then they will find 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 the same thing as guarantees. You may still get property damage if the fire gets out of control. Especially in dry conditions, just a small gust of wind can carry sparks into dry foliage, sparking dry grasses and other materials that are often abundant during the fall. Whenever you’re dealing with open flames, you are endangering your tenant, their pets, or even neighbors and strangers that happen to be nearby. And if the fire becomes unruly, it may grow beyond your property boundaries, making the risk shoot up. 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.

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 released into the atmosphere and have been shown to negatively impact both local and global ecosystems. In other words, burning leaves is also bad for the environment. Some local governments have banned leaf burning outright when they started recognizing the drawbacks of burning leaves. Others still allow it but drastically reduced 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 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. Doing this helps manage the number of leaves that need to be removed since this method turns the leaves into fertilizer for your lawn instead. An alternative is to compost. If you have a property that has a good deal of space, think about composting your fallen leaves in an unused corner that’s far from the house. A third option is to hire a clean-up crew to go to the property and haul your fallen leaves away. This is a good and efficient option but involves additional expense.

Whichever way you think is best would be fine. The priority here is to make sure that the fallen leaves on your Apopka 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 the way you do your leaf disposal must not create additional liability. At Real Property Management Freedom, we can work on the more time-consuming tasks – including leaf disposal – for you. While we’re doing that, you can spend your time working on what’s most important for 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 813-867-2667.

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