By Christopher J. Jaekels & Elizabeth K. Miles
The Wisconsin Legislature recently doubled down on its prohibition of municipal time-of-sale requirements. As of July 14, 2015, municipalities could no longer require an owner to make certain improvements and show code compliance before selling a property. As of March 2, 2016, those prohibitions also apply to buyers of real property and to take occupancy of residential property.
Under Wis. Stat. § 706.22, created by budget bill 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, a municipality may not restrict an owner’s ability to sell, transfer, or refinance property by requiring the following actions with respect to the property before, at, or immediately after the sale or transfer:
- Having an inspection made by a municipal employee or contractor;
- Making improvements or repairs;
- Removing junk or debris;
- Mowing or pruning;
- Performing maintenance or upkeep;
- Upgrading electrical systems;
- Repairing or replacing appliances and fixtures; and
- Complying with building codes or property condition standards.
Any ordinance inconsistent with the above became unenforceable on July 14, 2015.
The Legislature recently amended Wis. Stat. § 706.22, through 2015 Wisconsin Act 176, to include a prohibition on ordinances that require a buyer of real property to take the above-referenced actions before, at, or immediately after the sale or transfer and a purchaser of or a transferee of title to residential property in order to take occupancy. Ordinances containing such restrictions became unenforceable on March 2, 2016.
Importantly, a municipality can still require an owner to take the above actions not in connection with the sale or refinancing of the property. For example, inspections related to building and remodeling are not affected by the new rules. Municipalities now will need to utilize citations and forfeitures to enforce code compliance rather than time-of-sale requirements.
If you have any questions regarding this article, please contact your Davis & Kuelthau attorney, or the authors, Christopher J. Jaekels at 414.225.1409 / firstname.lastname@example.org or Elizabeth K. Miles at 414.225.1491 / email@example.com.