Managing graffiti on private property

If you have been the victim of graffiti on your private property you should report the incident to the Queensland Police via Policelink (131444) or via the Policelink website prior to removing the graffiti. Reporting graffiti to the Police is an important step as it allows the Police to have a true reflection of how much graffiti is occurring in the area. It also helps Police identify the correct victims if someone with a particular ‘tag’ is identified and dealt with.

It is the responsibility of the property owner or occupier to remove graffiti on private property (this includes residential, commercial, and industrial premises). If Council receives a complaint about graffiti on private property, Council may issue the property owner or occupier a graffiti removal notice requiring them to remove or cover the graffiti within 14 days.

This notice is issued under the Health, Safety and Amenity Local Law 2021 and requires an owner or occupier of a property to remove graffiti. Potential consequences of failing to comply with this notice could include:

  • Council issuing an infringement; and/or
  • Council removing the graffiti and invoicing the owner or occupier for all of the costs incurred in removing the graffiti.

If the graffiti, or a part of it, is considered to be offensive, Council may require a property owner or occupier to immediately cover/remove all or part of the graffiti prior to issuing a graffiti removal notice. If the owner or occupier is either unable or unwilling to do so, Council may immediately remove or cover the graffiti on their behalf. This also applies to any publicly visible commissioned and/or paid for art that is considered offensive. If the graffiti is not removed, Council may issue a graffiti removal notice.

For clarity, offensive is defined by Council as language, words, symbols, images, characters or displays that arouse disgust or outrage in the mind of a reasonable person in the context of contemporary community standards.

If required, a Council officer can meet the occupier of the property to discuss the removal of the graffiti. Techniques and methods on how to remove graffiti and potential long-term solutions to help prevent re-occurrence of the graffiti can be discussed. To request specialist advice on graffiti management, phone Council’s 24-hour Customer Contact Centre on (07) 3403 8888.

Graffiti Removal

Graffiti is vandalism and it impacts on our community both socially and financially. The 'Broken Window Theory' suggests that graffiti that is not removed can attract more graffiti and other forms of criminal behaviour.

Rapid removal is the most effective way to prevent graffiti from reappearing. It reduces the recognition that graffitists crave and shows that the affected area is being monitored and looked after.

Graffiti Removal Advice

Graffiti can be removed by:

  • painting over it
  • using chemical removal products (seek advice from Brisbane City Council or a hardware or paint store)
  • using high pressure water blasting.

When choosing a removal method, consider the surface affected, type of graffiti paint or pen used and the age of the graffiti. 

Council has produced a short video outlining some graffiti removal and prevention tips and tricks for your information.

 

 

Video transcript

Hi, my name is Chris, and I’m a Graffiti Removal Officer with Brisbane City Council.

When it comes to graffiti, prevention is key and there are some simple things you can do to help minimise the risk. Consider:

  • using vegetation to reduce access to walls
  • install good lighting to help deter criminal activity
  • use signs to create clear boundaries between your property and public areas
  • install fencing to make it harder for vandals to gain access
  • remove any object that could be used to climb to high areas like rooftop or awnings; and
  • consider installing surveillance cameras.

Now let’s look at how we rid of graffiti that’s already there.

To help you get started, Council provides free graffiti removal kits, which contain protective glasses, gloves, safety information and instructions.

Each kit includes different removal product such as graffiti removal spray, wipes and paint depending on the surface affected.

Our dedicated team can provide advice about which kit is best for your needs.

Windows or shop fronts are a common target for graffiti vandals. I will show you now some simple and easy ways to remove it safely.

Methylated spirits, graffiti remover and graffiti wipes are all able to be used against aerosols and marker pen from the glass.

Before using any chemical products, you need to take some simple safety precautions.

Always manufacturers’ instructions and only use chemicals in a well-ventilated area. Put on gloves, safety glasses and wash your hands thoroughly after you are done. Store all chemicals in a secure spot like a locked cupboard or high shelf so that they are out of reach of children and animals.

To remove graffiti from glass using the graffiti removal wipes, simply apply it gently to the glass and wipe until it’s been removed. Then, use a nice, clean wet rag and gently wipe it over until it’s all been removed.

Another way to remove paint, is by using a blade scraper, which you can buy from your local hardware store. Scrape away the excess aerosol from the glass but be careful not to scratch it.

Concrete walls are another common graffiti target and there are a number of ways you can remove it.

Firstly, you can apply graffiti remover, scrub with a stiff brush and then wash off or water blast with a pressure cleaner. You may need to try a few times to get rid of the graffiti completely. Just remember to wait 2-3 minutes between applications to give the product time to take effect.

Sometimes, when graffiti covers a large area, it’s much easier and much cheaper to just paint over it. Make sure you prepare the surface by removing flaking paint, dust or grime using a scraper or wire brush. Remember to wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from paint flakes or droplets. Once you’re ready to paint, make sure that you do it in large sections so that the tag is completely covered. You may need to use a stain sealer or an undercoat to stop the graffiti bleeding through.

When you’re finished, store any leftover paint carefully and don’t let any paint or chemical runoff into drains or waterways.

So there you have it. Some easy ways to remove graffiti from your property.

You can watch this video and other related videos on Council's YouTube channel.

You can also download the below quick reference guide, outlining the best removal methods for different surfaces:

Staying safe when removing graffiti

When you are using any kind of chemical products or paints it is important to take precautions to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you. 

Always take the following precautions when using paints:

  • wear protective equipment including eye protection and follow the product manufacturers’ instructions
  • do not allow paint run off to enter the stormwater or waterways as this can be harmful to the environment
  • try to wipe/squeeze excess paint from rollers and brushes back into the paint tin for future use
  • wipe excess paint out of brushes and rollers onto newspaper and then dispose of the newspaper with normal household rubbish after it has dried
  • use two containers to clean your brush; one to clean the brush and another to use for a final clean
  • use newspaper to clean out the remainder from your cleaning buckets as it can be disposed of in your normal rubbish once dry.

Always take the following precautions when using chemicals:

  • always wear protective equipment including gloves and eye protection and follow the product manufacturers’ instructions
  • keep away from children and animals
  • do not allow paint (chemical) run off to enter the stormwater or waterways as this damages the environment.
  • dispose of safely - Council waste transfer stations have chemical disposal facilities 
  • chemicals rely on a reaction with paint. When the surface is warm a better reaction occurs. A wall that has been in the sun for a while will be easier to remove graffiti from than one that has been in the shade.

Graffiti removal kits

Brisbane residents and businesses can visit Council or their local ward office to ask for a graffiti removal kit. Please note graffiti kits are not currently available at the East and West Regional Business Centres.

Kits are free of charge for Brisbane residents. Proof of residency in the Brisbane City Council area (e.g. rates account or driver’s licence) must be shown. There is a limit of one kit per household per calendar year (unless exceptional circumstances apply).

The kit contains:

  • safety glasses
  • chemical resistant gloves
  • Graffiti Remover – heavy duty 450ml Trigger Bottle
  • set of instructions and safety guidelines.

The kit cannot be re-filled, and the contents have an expiry date. For this reason, they are only provided when residents have graffiti to remove and are not provided to be kept for future graffiti. Similar products to those contained in the graffiti removal kits can be purchased from most hardware stores.

Graffiti on private property next to a rail corridor

Where an occupier has independent access to graffiti marking their buildings or structures next to the railway corridor, they will be required by Council to remove the graffiti.

Queensland Rail are responsible for removing graffiti where graffiti clean-up can only be achieved by working inside the railway corridor.

More information

If you require more advice, information or support, phone Council's Taskforce Against Graffiti on 07 3403 8888.

Last updated: 31 May 2022

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.