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Should Your Woodland Hills 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 raises the question: What are we to do with these fallen leaves once we’ve got them all raked up? One really popular method to dispose of the unwanted leaves is to burn them. But as a Woodland Hills rental property owner, should you really allow your tenants to do that? Should you let them be the ones to group all the leaves and burn them? While it is true that burning the leaves will help dispose of them quickly, it is also true that handling an open flame is a dangerous task. The risk you expose yourself to is not worth the convenience. 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 type, carries a certain amount of risk. But there are a number of property owners that think 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’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 and guarantees aren’t the same things. If the fire gets out of control, then you may still get property damage. 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. Open flames can be really dangerous for your tenants, their pets, or even passers-by who just happen to be there. And the danger level skyrockets if the fire grows beyond your property boundaries. If things don’t go as planned and someone does get injured or if the property is damaged, then that puts you in a tough position. As the property owner, you may be held liable for medical costs, legal fees, and other related expenses. Now, add that cost to the cost of materials and labor for the repairs you’ll have to do. This is what you’ll potentially lose if things don’t go your way. This high risk should strongly discourage you from permitting leaf burning as a disposal method.

These risks alone provide a compelling reason to ban leaf burning on your rental property. But it’s not the only reason; there’s more. 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 haven’t gone as far as banning them but 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’ll need to find alternatives. There are other safer ways to get rid 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. Alternatively, if your property has enough space, is you can compost your fallen leaves. Select an unused corner away from the house and do it there. A third option is to hire a clean-up crew to come and haul your fallen leaves away. This is quite efficient but there will be some additional costs.

Whichever method you ultimately choose would be fine for as long as the fallen leaves on your Woodland Hills rental property are being raked up and properly disposed of. Because if you don’t, there will be safety issues and you’ll be attracting pests and killing your landscape. You should avoid leaving fallen leaves all over the ground. However, the method of your leaf disposal must not create additional liability. At Real Property Management West San Fernando Valley, 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.  To know more about what we can do for you, please contact us online or give us a ring at 818-727-0100.

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