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Removing graffiti

Information about the law that requires people to remove graffiti and what can be done for property owners who are affected.

Offer to remove the graffiti

If a person is charged with a graffiti offence it might be a good strategy to offer to remove it, clean it up or pay for the cost of repair. This will demonstrate to the magistrate that the person is sorry and is acting responsibly by doing something to repair the damage.

Removal of graffiti on private property

The local council may want to remove graffiti on private property that can be seen from a public space. They may send a notice to the owner of the property asking for their permission to enter their property and remove the graffiti. They must send this notice at least 28 days before they take action.

The Graffiti Prevention Act 2007 (Vic) gives local councils the power to take any action necessary to remove graffiti that has been created on private property if that graffiti can be seen from a public place.

If graffiti does not involve entry onto private property

If the graffiti removal does not involve the council entering the private property (for example if the graffiti is on a house wall that adjoins a railway line) the council must send a notice to the owner of the property 10 days before they remove the graffiti.

After 10 days the council may go ahead and remove the graffiti unless the owner of the property has objected.

Council does not have to remove graffiti

The law makes it clear that this law does not impose a duty on the councils to remove the graffiti and no compensation is payable by the local councils.

See ss. 18-22—Graffiti Prevention Act 2007 (Vic)

Bills posted or property defaced

A person who appears in court for the defacing property or posting bills offence may be ordered to pay for the cost of removing or blanking out 'obliterating' anything that has been written, posted or painted without consent.

This cost is to be in addition to any fine that is ordered by the court.

See s. 10(6)—Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

More information

Legislation

Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic)

  • s. 10—posting bills and defacing property offence
  • s. 10(6)—makes it clear that a court may order the person to pay for the cost of removing posters or graffiti

See Summary Offences Act 1966(opens in a new window)

Graffiti Prevention Act 2007 (Vic)

  • s. 3—defines a graffiti offence, and defines graffiti as prescribed graffiti implement is defined as something that can be used to mark graffiti that includes aerosol spray-paint or other implement that is prescribed in the regulations (there are currently no regulations)
  • Part 4—removal and obliteration of graffiti
  • s. 18—removal of graffiti from private property
  • s. 21—no compensation is payable
  • s. 22—no duty to remove graffiti

See Graffiti Prevention Act 2007(opens in a new window)

Youthlaw—Legal information and factsheets

This specialist community legal centre that assists young people has a factsheet about police powers to search for graffiti implements.

  • 'Graffiti laws'

See Youthlaw—Legal information and factsheets(opens in a new window)

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