Ch. 703 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 283, which affected this chapter, contains extensive explanatory notes.
703.01 703.01 Condominium ownership act. This chapter shall be known as the “Condominium Ownership Act".
703.01 History History: 1977 c. 407.
703.01 Annotation State and federal regulation of condominiums. Minahan, 58 MLR 55.
703.01 Annotation Condominium conversion and tenant rights — Wisconsin statutes section 703.08: What kind of protection does it really provide. Wynn, 63 MLR 73 (1979).
703.01 Annotation Transferring Declarant Rights and Obligations Under the Wisconsin Condominium Ownership Act. Ishikawa. Wis. Law. Feb. 1992.
703.01 Annotation Wisconsin's Revised Condominium Ownership Act. Hinkston. Wis. Law. Sept. 2004.
703.01 Annotation Advising Prospective Owners of Troubled Condominium Projects. Ishikawa. Wis. Law. Oct. 2009.
703.02 703.02 Definitions. In this chapter, unless the context requires otherwise:
703.02(1b) (1b) “Addendum" means a condominium instrument that modifies a recorded condominium plat.
703.02(1h) (1h) “Amendment" means a condominium instrument that modifies a recorded condominium declaration.
703.02(1m) (1m) “Association" means all of a condominium's unit owners acting as a group, either through a nonstock, nonprofit corporation or an unincorporated association, in accordance with its bylaws and declaration.
703.02(2) (2) “Common elements" mean all of a condominium except its units.
703.02(3) (3) “Common expenses and common surpluses" mean the expenses and surpluses of an association.
703.02(4) (4) “Condominium" means property subject to a condominium declaration established under this chapter.
703.02(5) (5) “Condominium instruments" mean the declaration, plats and plans of a condominium together with any attached exhibits or schedules.
703.02(6) (6) “Conversion condominium" means a structure which, before the recording of a condominium declaration, was wholly or partially occupied by persons other than those who have contracted for the purchase of condominium units and those who occupy with the consent of the purchasers.
703.02(6m) (6m) “Correction instrument" means an instrument drafted by a professional land surveyor that complies with the requirements of s. 59.43 (2m) and that, upon recording, corrects an error in a condominium plat. “Correction instrument" does not include an instrument of conveyance.
703.02(7) (7) “Declarant" means any owner who subjects his or her property to a condominium declaration established under this chapter. The term includes an assignee of the declarant under s. 703.09 (4).
703.02(8) (8) “Declaration" means the instrument by which a property becomes subject to this chapter, and that declaration as amended from time to time.
703.02(9) (9) “Expandable condominium" means a condominium to which additional property or units or both may be added in accordance with the provisions of a declaration and this chapter.
703.02(10) (10) “Limited common element" means a common element identified in a declaration or on a condominium plat as reserved for the exclusive use of one or more but less than all of the unit owners.
703.02(11) (11) “Majority" or “majority of unit owners" mean the condominium unit owners with more than 50 percent of the votes assigned to the units in the condominium declaration.
703.02(12) (12) “Mortgagee" means the holder of any recorded mortgage encumbering one or more units or a land contract vendor.
703.02(13) (13) “Person" means an individual, corporation, partnership, association, trustee or other legal entity.
703.02(13r) (13r) “Professional land surveyor" means a professional land surveyor licensed under ch. 443.
703.02(14) (14) “Property" means unimproved land, land together with improvements on it or improvements without the underlying land. Property may consist of noncontiguous parcels or improvements.
703.02(14g) (14g) “Removal instrument" means an instrument that complies with the requirements of s. 59.43 (2m) and that removes property from the provisions of this chapter upon recording. “Removal instrument" does not include an instrument of conveyance.
703.02(14m) (14m) “Small condominium" means a condominium with no more than 12 units.
703.02(15) (15) “Unit" means a part of a condominium intended for any type of independent use, including one or more cubicles of air at one or more levels of space or one or more rooms or enclosed spaces located on one or more floors, or parts thereof, in a building. A unit may include 2 or more noncontiguous areas.
703.02(16) (16) “Unit number" means the number identifying a unit in a declaration.
703.02(17) (17) “Unit owner" means a person, combination of persons, partnership or corporation who holds legal title to a condominium unit or has equitable ownership as a land contract vendee.
703.02 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 283, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
703.02 Annotation The definition of “unit" under sub. (15) encompasses a property on which there is no constructed unit. Aluminium Industries v. Camelot Trails, 194 Wis. 2d 575, 535 N.W.2d 74 (Ct. App. 1995).
703.02 Annotation Small lock boxes were not “intended for any type of independent use" within the meaning of “unit" under sub. (15). Because there are no valid units, there could be no valid condominium units, and the conveyance of riparian rights to docks attempted to be transferred as common elements were not valid. ABKA Limited Partnership v. DNR, 2002 WI 106, 255 Wis. 2d 486, 648 N.W.2d 854, 99-2306.
703.02 Annotation Each unit identified in the condominium declaration is a unit for purposes of separate taxation under s. 703.21, regardless of whether the unit has been constructed. For purposes of identifying the “unit" as defined in sub. (15), a unit may exist without a building. The Saddle Ridge Corp. v. Board of Review for Town of Pacific, 2010 WI 47, 325 Wis. 2d 29, 784 N.W.2d 527, 07-2886.
703.02 Annotation Although the statutory definition of a “unit" under sub. (15) controls, it may be altered by other statutory provisions that look specifically to the declaration to define the substantive rights and obligations of unit owners. Section 703.15 (4) (d) 1. explicitly allows the declaration to determine the number of votes appurtenant to each platted unit. Northernaire Resort & Spa, LLC v. Northernaire Condominium Association, Inc. 2013 WI App 116, 351 Wis. 2d 156, 839 N.W.2d 116, 12-1707.
703.03 703.03 Application of chapter. This chapter applies only to property, a sole owner or all of the owners of which submit the property to the provisions of this chapter by duly executing and recording a declaration as provided in this chapter.
703.03 Annotation Master-planned communities are not part of the purpose behind ch. 703's promulgation. Master-planned communities are an entirely different type and level of development than condominiums. A condominium is a multiple-unit complex, the units of which are individually owned, each owner receiving a recordable deed to the individual unit purchased and sharing in joint ownership of any common grounds or passageways. A master-planned community is a private quasi-town that may include different types of homes, including condominiums, commercial property, private streets and parks, and other recreational facilities. Just because a master-planned community has condominiums as part of the plan, a covenant governing the community is not subject to ch. 703. Solowicz v. Forward Geneva National, 2010 WI 20, 323 Wis. 2d 556, 780 N.W.2d 111, 08-0010.
703.03 History History: 1977 c. 407.
703.04 703.04 Status of the units. A unit, together with its undivided interest in the common elements, for all purposes constitutes real property.
703.04 History History: 1977 c. 407.
703.05 703.05 Ownership of units. A unit owner is entitled to the exclusive ownership and possession of his or her unit.
703.05 History History: 1977 c. 407.
703.06 703.06 Alterations prohibited. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no unit owner may make any alteration that would jeopardize the soundness or safety of the property, reduce the value thereof, impair any easement or hereditament, or change the exterior appearance of a unit or any other portion of the condominium not part of the unit.
703.06 History History: 1977 c. 407; 2003 a. 283.
703.06 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 283, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
703.07 703.07 Establishment of condominium.
703.07(1) (1) A condominium may only be created by recording condominium instruments with the register of deeds of the county where the property is located. A condominium declaration and plat shall be presented together to the register of deeds for recording.
703.07(2) (2) A condominium instrument, and all amendments, addenda and certifications of a condominium instrument, shall be recorded in every county in which any portion of the condominium is located, and shall be indexed in the name of the declarant and the name of the condominium. Subsequent instruments affecting the title to a unit which is physically located entirely within a single county shall be recorded only in that county, notwithstanding the fact that the common elements are not physically located entirely within that county. Subsequent amendments and addenda shall be indexed under the name of the condominium.
703.07(3) (3) All instruments affecting title to units shall be recorded and taxed as in other real property transactions.
703.07 History History: 1977 c. 407; 1997 a. 333.
703.08 703.08 Notice prior to conversion of residential property to condominium.
703.08(1) (1) Residential real property may not be converted to a condominium unless the owner of the residential real property gives prior written notice of the conversion to each of the tenants of the building or buildings scheduled for conversion. During the 60-day period immediately following the date of delivery of the notice a tenant has the first right to purchase the unit, if the unit is offered for sale at any time during that period, for any of the following:
703.08(1)(a) (a) The price at which the unit is being offered on the market.
703.08(1)(b) (b) The price contained in any accepted offer to purchase the unit.
703.08(1)(c) (c) The price otherwise agreed to by the tenant and the seller.
703.08(2) (2) A tenant may not be required to vacate the property during the 120-day period immediately following the date of delivery of the notice required under sub. (1) except for:
703.08(2)(a) (a) Violation of a covenant in the lease; or
703.08(2)(b) (b) Nonpayment of rent.
703.08(3) (3) A tenant may waive in writing his or her first right of purchase under sub. (1), his or her right to remain on the property under sub. (2), or both.
703.08 History History: 1977 c. 407; 2003 a. 283.
703.08 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 283, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
703.08 Annotation Condominium conversion and tenant rights — Wisconsin statutes section 703.08: What kind of protection does it really provide. Wynn, 63 MLR 73 (1979).
703.09 703.09 Declaration.
703.09(1)(1) A condominium declaration shall contain:
703.09(1)(a) (a) The name and address of the condominium and the name shall include the word “condominium" or be followed by the words “a condominium".
703.09(1)(b) (b) A description of the land on which the condominium is, or is to be, located, together with a statement of the owner's intent to subject the property to the condominium declaration established under this chapter.
703.09(1)(c) (c) A general description of each unit, including its perimeters, location and any other data sufficient to identify it with reasonable certainty.
703.09(1)(d) (d) A general description of the common elements together with a designation of those portions of the common elements that are limited common elements and the unit to which the use of each is restricted. Fixtures designed to serve a single unit, located contiguous to the unit's boundaries, are deemed limited common elements appertaining to that unit exclusively and need not be shown or designated as limited common elements in the condominium instruments.
703.09(1)(e) (e) The percentage interests appurtenant to each unit.
703.09(1)(f) (f) The number of votes at meetings of the association of unit owners appurtenant to each unit.
703.09(1)(g) (g) Statement of the purposes for which the building and each of the units are intended and restricted as to use.
703.09(1)(h) (h) The name and address of the resident agent under s. 703.23.
703.09(1)(i) (i) Provision as to the percentage of votes by the unit owners which shall be determinative of whether to rebuild, repair, restore or sell the property in the event of damage or destruction of all or part of the property.
703.09(1)(j) (j) Any further details in connection with the property which the person executing the declaration deems desirable to set forth consistent with this chapter, except those provisions which are required to be included in the bylaws.
703.09(1c) (1c) A condominium declaration shall be signed by the owners of the property and any first mortgagee of the property or the holder of an equivalent security interest in the property in the same manner as required in conveyances of real property.
703.09(2) (2) Except as provided in sub. (4) and ss. 703.093, 703.13 (6) (c) and (d) and (8) (b), and 703.26, a condominium declaration may be amended with the written consent of at least two-thirds of the aggregate of the votes established under sub. (1) (f) or a greater percentage if provided in the declaration. An amendment becomes effective when it is recorded in the same manner as the declaration. The document submitting the amendment for recording shall state that the required consents and approvals for the amendment were received. A unit owner's written consent is not effective unless it is approved in writing by the first mortgagee of the unit, or the holder of an equivalent security interest, if any. Approval from the first mortgage lender or equivalent security interest holder, or the person servicing the first mortgage loan or its equivalent on a unit, constitutes approval of the first mortgagee or equivalent security interest holder under this subsection.
703.09(3) (3)
703.09(3)(a)(a) If an amendment to a condominium declaration has the effect of reducing the value of any unit owner's interest in any common element, including any limited common element, and increases the value of the declarant's or any other unit owner's interest in the common element or limited common element, then the declarant or other unit owner shall compensate the unit owner the value of whose interest is reduced in the amount of the reduction in value, either in cash or by other consideration acceptable to the unit owner.
703.09(3)(b) (b) A unit owner may waive the right to obtain compensation under par. (a) in writing.
703.09(3)(c) (c) Paragraph (a) does not apply to an expanding condominium under s. 703.26.
703.09(4) (4) A declarant may assign his or her rights and obligations as a declarant under this chapter by recording an amendment to the declaration that includes the assignment and an acceptance of the assignment that is signed by the assignee and acknowledged. A declarant may not assign under this subsection less than all of his or her rights and obligations as a declarant under this chapter.
703.09 History History: 1977 c. 407; 1985 a. 188, 332; 2003 a. 283.
703.09 Note NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 283, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
703.09 Annotation An amendment of a condominium declaration that changed a common area to a limited common area but did not change the owners' percentage interests in the common areas did not require unanimous approval of all owners and was valid. Any reduction in value due to the change from common area was recoverable under sub. (3) (a) by the owners whose condominium value decreased due to the change. Newport Condominium Association v. Concord-Wisconsin, 205 Wis. 2d 577, 556 N.W.2d 775 (Ct. App. 1996), 95-0869.
703.09 Annotation A condominium complex may prohibit the rental of condominium units through an amendment to the bylaws. Nothing in sub. (1) (g) or in any other section of ch. 703 requires that all restrictions on use must be identified in the declaration. Section 703.10 (3) expressly authorizes the placement of additional use restrictions in condominium bylaws and does not contain limitations on the types of restrictions that can be implemented through bylaw amendments. As long as use restrictions do not conflict with the declaration or with state or federal law, they are valid and enforceable. Apple Valley Gardens Association, Inc. v. MacHutta, 2009 WI 28, 316 Wis. 2d 85, 763 N.W.2d 126, 07-0191.
703.093 703.093 Alternative procedure for amending declaration.
2015-16 Wisconsin Statutes updated through 2017 Wis. Act 141 and all Supreme Court and Controlled Substances Board Orders effective on or before March 14, 2018. Published and certified under s. 35.18. Changes effective after March 14, 2018 are designated by NOTES. (Published 3-14-18)