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How to Write a Letter Giving Permission to Cut a Tree

Ethan Pendleton

Whether it is threatened by hungry insects or simply interfering with power lines, it’s sometimes necessary to have a tree removed from your property. Because tree removal can’t be reversed, it’s important to have a paper trail to prevent arguments involving neighbors or municipal agencies.

Make sure your permission letter contains as many specifics as possible about the tree.

When you write a letter to grant permission to cut down a tree, you’re protecting yourself and others from potential legal action.

  1. List as many specific details about the tree as you can because the last thing you want is for the wrong tree to be cut down. Use a measuring wheel to figure out exactly where the tree is in relation to your property line. Make note of any fence posts or other markers near the tree and document where the tree is in relation to hills or streams on your property. Estimate the height of the tree and the diameter of the trunk, along with any other distinguishing details.

  2. Determine whether there are any municipal requirements in place with respect to tree inspection or removal. For example, there may be requirements regarding where the tree is relation to a road's right-of-way or for removal when it's alive or dead.

  3. Figure out if your letter needs to be accompanied by additional forms or payment. For example, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency asks you to submit a four-page application as well as cash or a check or money order.

  4. Begin by addressing the recipient with the appropriate salutation. If you don’t know the specific person responsible for tree removal in your municipality, you could simply write, “To Whom it May Concern.”

  5. Compose a first paragraph in which you very clearly describe what you want. Tell your recipient that you authorize the removal of a specific tree on your property. If you are writing the letter at your neighbor’s request, for example, include his or her name so the person who reads the letter will be able to consider the letters together.

  6. Provide all of the specific details about the tree to be removed. Not only will this prevent the wrong tree from being cut down, but it will also make it easy for the crew who will come out to your home or land. Instead of playing a guessing game, they can simply use the clues you’ve given them.

  7. End your letter with a paragraph in which you offer to answer any questions the recipient might have. Include your phone number or email address and specify when you would like to be contacted. Sign your letter.