In a long-overdue move, SF Public Works will stop charging small businesses and building owners for having graffiti on their buildings, and instead come out and clean off the tagging for free.

Ask any small business or building owner what the most back-asswards thing about running a San Francisco storefront is, and they’ll probably respond how when a small business gets tagged, vandalized or graffitied, the property owner is on the hook for the fines. This was particularly problematic during the vandalism wave of the pandemic, and while Supervisor Hillary Ronen did get a temporary graffiti amnesty fine plan going during the pandemic, that only lasted about a year.

A better idea would have been for the city’s Public Works department to clean the graffiti and tagging. And that better idea is now a reality, as Public Works announced Wednesday they were launching a two-year pilot program to clean off graffiti for free, upon request.

According to their announcement, “The pilot program will work to relieve participating property owners of the financial burden of removing tags from their buildings, instead allowing professional Public Works crews or City contractors access to wipe out graffiti at zero cost to the effected property and business owners.”

“This program is a win for small businesses and property owners facing the expense of removing unwanted graffiti that creates an unwelcoming environment,” Mayor London Breed said in the announcement. “As San Francisco continues our recovery efforts, it’s critical that we stay focused on keeping our city safe and clean, while also continuing to support our small businesses to ensure they thrive. This graffiti abatement program is just one part of that effort but it will really help our neighborhoods and our City.”

The request portal to get your graffiti cleaned off for free is already live. Response times are listed as being between two to three days, except for parking and traffic signs, which could take as long as 20 days.

Related: Now SF Has a Graffiti Flash Mob; More Than 100 Taggers Coated Mission and 18th Streets Friday Night [SFist]

Image: Joe Kukura, SFist