Through the Trees and Sidewalks Repair Program, the City performs free repairs for qualifying broken sidewalks severely damaged by curbside tree roots in front of one, two, and three family homes only. An official inspection of the broken sidewalk will determine if it qualifies for free repair.

The City no longer permits root slicing or root pruning of City trees. 

Learn more about the Trees and Sidewalks Repair Program.

If the sidewalk in front of a residential property is damaged due to tree roots, the site may qualify for free repair through the Trees and Sidewalks Repair Program. An official inspection will determine if a sidewalk damaged by City-owned trees qualifies for a free repair. 

Only sidewalks adjacent to 1-, 2-, and 3- family residential properties are eligible.

Requested sites will be inspected and ranked by a number of criteria, including the severity of sidewalk damage, the observed pedestrian usage, and the health and number of tree(s) on site. After the inspection is completed, the Service Request will be updated with the results. High ranking sites will be prioritized for repair.

Repairs generally involve:

  • Removing damaged concrete
  • Expanding the tree's growing space
  • Installing concrete in the surrounding sections of sidewalk using techniques to promote tree preservation and sidewalk longevity

You do not have to be the property owner to submit an inspection request to the Trees and Sidewalks program. However, if you are submitting for your own property, please note this in the comments of your request. 

Ranking and Inspection

DPR evaluates and ranks sites based on:

  • Level of activity on the street
  • Amount of sidewalk damage
  • Tree's overall health

The Trees and Sidewalks Repair Program will repair sites with a high rank first.

The Trees and Sidewalks Repair Program is not available to owners of the following:

  • Commercial properties
  • Co-ops
  • Condos
  • Residential properties with four or more units

If you fit into any of the above categories, you must repair the sidewalk through an independent contractor. 

Repairing your sidewalk through an independent contractor is often the quickest solution if you:

  • Are a homeowner with time-sensitive needs for sidewalk repair, or
  • You own a non-Tax Class 1 property that is not eligible for the Trees & Sidewalks Program.

Follow these steps to repair a sidewalk yourself:

  1. Hire a licensed contractor who can repair the sidewalk and make preliminary arrangements for them to perform the work. 
  2. Apply for the necessary permits, including:
  3. Parks Department will review your application for a Tree Work Permit and inspect the tree(s) damaging the sidewalk.
  4. Parks will issue a Tree Work Permit along with guidelines for how to repair the sidewalk without damaging the tree(s). This permit will be valid for 90 days.

Once repairs are complete, Parks will inspect the tree and the repair, and issue sign-off if the repairs meet all permit conditions and preserve the health of the tree(s).

Learn more about independent sidewalk repairs.

File a Claim

If you had to repair your sidewalk on your own due to damage caused by a City tree, you can file a claim with the City of New York. Please note that filing a claim does not guarantee a settlement.

The New York City Comptroller’s Office is responsible for overseeing the resolution and settlement of claims filed against or on behalf of the City of New York. After a claim is received, the Comptroller’s Office will investigate the claim. The Comptroller’s Office may extend an offer to settle the claim based on the results of the investigation.

Claims must be filed with the New York City Comptroller’s Office within 90 days of performing the repair. Learn more and download a Notice of Claim form on the City Claim page. 

The City will no longer issue violations or impose liens on 1-, 2-, and 3-family properties that have sidewalk damage caused only by City trees.

By the end of 2020, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will review existing notices of violation to determine which were caused only by City street trees and cancel the lien for any that meet the criteria.

If you are a property owner who is selling or refinancing your home, the City will expedite this re-evaluation. You must provide proof that the property is in contract to be sold or refinanced.

You can request a removal online or by mail.

You must include:

  • Your name
  • Property address
  • Description of whether you are selling or refinancing your property


Request to remove a lien due to City tree damage.

By Mail

Mail your request to:

Department of Transportation Commissioner
55 Water Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10041

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