Trees and neighbours

If you’d like to prune overhanging branches from a neighbour’s tree, you need to apply for permission, as all trees of a certain size are protected in the City of Sydney. Although you don’t need your neighbour’s permission, you may want to tell them of your intentions beforehand as a courtesy.

The City will also notify your neighbour of your application and they will be given 14 days to comment on it before it is determined. If we approve your application, all pruning must be done on your property – the permit does not give you or your contractor permission to enter your neighbour’s place.

Only your neighbour can give you permission to prune the tree from their property.

Note: You can only apply to prune a neighbour’s tree. The City will not accept your application if it relates to removing a neighbour’s tree. We cannot grant you permission to remove your neighbour’s tree without their consent.

Disputes over trees

Disputes over trees can sometimes arise between neighbours, for example if tree roots or branches are damaging a shared fence. In such situations the first step is always to discuss the problem with your neighbour.

Try to negotiate a solution that satisfies you both. The City cannot step in to resolve disputes over trees. Under NSW laws, councils do not have the authority to order a resident to prune or remove a tree, even if it is impacting on a neighbouring property.

Disputes between neighbours need to be resolved between the parties. If an agreement can’t be reached, the next step is mediation, organised by a Community Justice Centre or legal action in the Land and Environment Court.