Building owners in the borough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce are fuming over a new bylaw – passed Monday –that forces them to clean up graffiti on large buildings or face fines.

The CDN-NDG borough council voted in favour of the bylaw at a meeting Monday night.

The municipal rule targets only commercial buildings larger than 300 square metres, or residential buildings with more than six units.

Owners are now expected to remove graffiti on their buildings at their own expense, or face fines of up to $1,400.  

Peter Sergakis, who owns several properties in the borough, says he is outraged. 

"I mean we're the victims! They leave the criminals to destroy and damage our property, and the victim pays for the damages, it doesn't make sense," Sergakis said.

The borough estimates it spent more than $700,000 last year removing graffiti, and is no longer willing to defray the costs.

Residential building owner Helen Canci blames the borough for encouraging graffiti.

"When they started to give that free wall near my property, that's when all the vandalism started. By passing this bylaw they're encouraging the youth to continue doing what they're doing because the landlord will take care of it," Canci said.

She suggests the borough focus its energies on discouraging graffiti.