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Should Your West Hartford 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 just raises the question of what we’re supposed to do with all the fallen leaves after we’ve raked them up. One thing you can do is to burn the unwanted leaves. That’s a popular disposal method. But as a West Hartford 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 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. For example, property owners would find a clear patch of dirt with no overhanging branches or power lines. This is where they’d place their fallen leaves for burning. 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 don’t mean guarantee. If the fire gets out of control, it will still cause 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. 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 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.

While the risks alone already provide a compelling reason, there are more arguments to back up the decision to ban leaf burning on your rental property. 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 are also released into the atmosphere. It’s bad for the environment and has been shown to negatively impact both local and global ecosystems. That’s another reason why burning leaves should be avoided. Some local governments recognize the drawbacks of burning leaves and have outright banned leaf burning. 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 study other safer ways to remove 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. When you do this you can help manage the number of leaves that need to be removed by turning it into fertilizer for your lawn instead. Another option is to try composting. If your property is nice and big, you could go to an unused corner and compost 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 want to do it would be good. The important thing is that your fallen leaves on your West Hartford rental property are being raked up and properly disposed of. The consequences of leaving them all over the ground would be safety issues, attracting pests and killing your landscape. However, the method of your leaf disposal must not create additional liability. At Real Property Management Hartford Metro/Greater New London, 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.  Feel free to contact us online or by phone at 860-436-9955. We’ll be glad to answer any of your questions.

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