Fighting Graffiti On Private Property: Prevention and Enforcement

In general, the City is responsible for cleaning graffiti on public property and for managing prevention and enforcement efforts. Graffiti on private property is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner, but the City has several programs to help.

Prevention: Keeping Clean and Graffiti-Free

Rapid removal is key. Although having to clean up graffiti right away may inconvenience a property owner, it’s essential to deterring further acts of vandalism. Removal within 24 to 48 hours decreases chance of retagging.

Consider prevention through environmental design: By incorporating shrubs, thorny plants and vines in hot spots, you can restrict access to walls and beautify the area at the same time. You may also want to try improving the lighting around your property and limiting access to your roof by removing things like dumpsters.

Tagged often? Consider:

Enforcement: Maintaining a Clean Community

Many private property owners act quickly to remove tags from their home or business. The City’s Code Enforcement Unit works with private property owners to eradicate graffiti. The Berkeley Police Department also works on a case-by-case basis with property owners who have “hot spots”—locations that are repeated targets of graffiti.

In cases where the private property owner does not act quickly, the City has a process for enforcing the anti-graffiti laws.

  1. Private property owners will receive a courtesy notice from the Code Enforcement Unit, requesting removal of the graffiti within 7 days. 
  2. If the private property owner fails to remove the graffiti, the Code Enforcement Unit will issue a Notice of Violation, again requesting removal of the graffiti. 
  3. Failure to respond to the Notice of Violation within 10 days could result in administrative citations and escalating fines starting at $100 per day. 

Citations may be appealed within 15 days. Administrative citations are issued in accordance with B.M.C. Section 1.28. Citations may be appealed within 21-days of the issue date. Please call the City Manager's Office for more information on the appeal process at 981-7000.