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Should Your Larimer County 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 really popular disposal method to get rid of the unwanted leaves is to burn them. But as a Larimer County rental property owner, you shouldn’t allow your tenants to be the ones to gather their leaves 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 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 sort, carries a certain amount of risk. But there are a lot of property owners that believe that if they follow certain safety precautions, they can minimize the risks. For example, some property owners would burn their fallen leaves on a clear patch of dirt with no overhanging branches or power lines. 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. You can have a small amount of wind blow and it will 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 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. You’ll have to add the cost of that liability with the cost of the repairs to fix up your rental home. That potential cost is just very risky that it should strongly discourage you from permitting leaf burning as a disposal method.

These risks alone already provide a compelling reason to ban leaf burning on your rental property but there are even more reasons to back that decision. 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. Burning leaves is also bad for the environment. Those same toxic gases get released into the atmosphere and have been shown to negatively impact both local and global ecosystems. Learning about the drawbacks of burning leaves, some local governments have banned leaf burning outright. Others may still permit it but they place limitations on it. Some 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 reduce the number of fallen leaves that they have to rake. Instead, they use a mulching lawnmower to shred them. This method can help manage the number of leaves that have to be removed by turning it into fertilizer for your lawn instead. The next option is composting. If you’ve got a property that is large enough, you should think about it. Select an unused corner away from the house and compost your fallen leaves there. A third option is to hire a clean-up crew to come and haul your fallen leaves away. This option is really efficient and convenient but it will involve some additional costs.

No matter how you get it done, it’s important to make sure that the fallen leaves on your Larimer County 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. But leaf disposal must be done in a manner that does not create additional liability. At Real Property Management of the Rockies, we can deal with the more time-consuming tasks – including leaf disposal – allowing you to spend more time on things that matter more, like building and developing your real estate investing business. Feel free to contact us online or by phone at 970-658-0410. We’ll be glad to answer any of your questions.

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