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Should Your South Roanoke 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? One thing you can do is to burn the unwanted leaves. That’s a popular disposal method. But as a South Roanoke rental property owner, you shouldn’t permit your tenants to be the ones to burn the leaves. Yes, burning the leaves will help dispose of them quickly and it may be really convenient. The drawback is that it could also be a very dangerous task for your tenants to do. However, if you help your tenant understand the safe and proper way of leaf disposal, you’ll be protecting them and your property at the same time.

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. 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 decide on 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 guarantees. If the fire ever gets out of control, you’re still likely to suffer property damage. Especially in dry conditions, even just a tiny gust of wind can carry sparks into dry foliage, sparking dry grasses and other materials that are often abundant during the fall. Whenever there are open flames, you’re risking the safety of your tenant, their pets, or even other people that just happen to be nearby. And if the fire isn’t contained and grows beyond your property boundaries, your risk escalates quickly. In the unfortunate event that injury or property damage does happen, then you’ll be in a tough spot. 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.

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, 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’ll need to look for other options. There are other safer ways to deal with fallen leaves. Many property owners shred them with a mulching lawnmower. This greatly reduces the number of fallen leaves they need to rake. 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. 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 want to do it would be good. The important thing is that your fallen leaves on your South Roanoke 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 Colonial, 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. Contact us online or call us at 540-595-7411 to learn more about how we can serve you.

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