The written instrument or judgment under which entry was made is recorded within 30 days of entry with the register of deeds of the county where the real estate lies; and
The person possessing the real estate, in connection with his or her predecessors in interest, is in actual continued occupation of all or a material portion of the real estate described in the written instrument or judgment after the original entry as provided by par. (a)
, under claim of title, exclusive of any other right.
If sub. (2)
is satisfied all real estate included in the written instrument or judgment upon which the entry is based is adversely possessed and occupied under this section, except if the real estate consists of a tract divided into lots the possession of one lot does not constitute the possession of any other lot of the same tract.
Facts which constitute possession and occupation of real estate under this section and s. 893.27
include, but are not limited to, the following:
Where it has been usually cultivated or improved;
Where it has been protected by a substantial inclosure;
Where, although not inclosed, it has been used for the supply of fuel or of fencing timber for the purpose of husbandry or for the ordinary use of the occupant; or
Where a known farm or single lot has been partly improved the portion of the farm or lot that is left not cleared or not inclosed, according to the usual course and custom of the adjoining country, is deemed to have been occupied for the same length of time as the part improved or cultivated.
For the purpose of this section and s. 893.27
it is presumed, unless rebutted, that entry and claim of title are made in good faith.
History: 1979 c. 323
; 1981 c. 314
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section collects in one place all material relating to 10-year adverse possession, integrating previous ss. 893.06 and 893.07, together with part of previous s. 893.10. Several language changes are the same as in s. 893.25, and the comments in the note following that section apply here. Three changes may work some change in substance, and should be particularly noted:
Sub. (2) (a) requires original entry on the adversely possessed premises to be "in good faith," language not included in the previous s. 893.06. The addition is designed to make clear that one who enters under a deed, for example, knowing it to be forged or given by one not the owner, should not have the benefit of the 10-year statute. Some Wisconsin case law (contrary to the nationwide weight of authority) suggests otherwise, and the change is intended to reverse these cases. See Polanski v. Town of Eagle Point, 30 Wis. 2d 507
, 141 N.W. 2d 281
(1966); Peters v. Kell, 12 Wis. 2d 32
, 106 N.W. 2d 407
(1960); McCann v. Welch, 106 Wis. 142, 81 N.W. 996 (1900). Note, however, that good faith is required only at the time of entry, and need not continue for the full 10 years of adverse possession.
Sub. (2) (b) adds a requirement not contained in previous s. 893.10 that the written instrument or judgment under which original entry is made must be recorded within 30 days after the entry.
Sub. (2) (c) adds the requirement that the adverse possession be of all or "a material portion" of the premises described in the written instrument or judgment, replacing "some part" found in previous s. 893.06. This probably represents no change in present law, but is intended to make clear that possession of an insubstantial fragment of land described in a written instrument will not suffice as constructive possession of all the land described. [Bill 326-A]
Where a deed granted a right of way but the claimed user was of a different strip, no right based on use for 10 years is created. New v. Stock, 49 W (2d) 469, 182 NW (2d) 276.
Adverse possession of relicted land discussed. Perpignani v. Vonasek, 139 W (2d) 695, 408 NW (2d) 1 (1987).
For purposes of determining "claim of title", a deed based upon a recorded official government survey meets the requirements of this statute. Ivalis v. Curtis, 173 W (2d) 751, 496 NW (2d) 690 (Ct. App. 1993).
Adverse possession; founded on recorded title claim and payment of taxes. 893.27(1)
An action for the recovery or the possession of real estate and a defense or counterclaim based upon title to real estate are barred by uninterrupted adverse possession of 7 years, except as provided by s. 893.14
. A person who in connection with his or her predecessors in interest is in uninterrupted adverse possession of real estate for 7 years, except as provided by s. 893.29
, may commence an action to establish title under ch. 841
Real estate is possessed adversely under this section as provided by s. 893.26 (2)
and only if:
Any conveyance of the interest evidenced by the written instrument or judgment under which the original entry was made is recorded with the register of deeds of the county in which the real estate lies within 30 days after execution; and
The person possessing it or his or her predecessor in interest pays all real estate taxes, or other taxes levied, or payments required, in lieu of real estate taxes for the 7-year period after the original entry.
History: 1979 c. 323
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is new. It provides a 7-year limitation period in favor of an adverse possessor who has met all the requirements for the 10-year provision and who also has a recorded chain of title and paid the property taxes for the full 7 years. Many states provide similar or shorter periods under the same circumstances, while Wisconsin has given no statutory recognition to the importance of paying the taxes. One valuable role of adverse possession statutes is in title clearance. When a party enters in good faith, maintains possession, records all conveyances within 30 days and pays taxes for 7 years, the likelihood of genuine competing claims is small, and the gains in assurance of title from this section may well be significant. Some language from ss. 893.25 and 893.26 is repeated here; see notes to those sections for explanation. [Bill 326-A]
Prescriptive rights by adverse user. 893.28(1)
Continuous adverse use of rights in real estate of another for at least 20 years, except as provided in s. 893.29
establishes the prescriptive right to continue the use. Any person who in connection with his or her predecessor in interest has made continuous adverse use of rights in the land of another for 20 years, except as provided by s. 893.29
, may commence an action to establish prescriptive rights under ch. 843
Continuous use of rights in real estate of another for at least 10 years by a domestic corporation organized to furnish telegraph or telecommunications service or transmit heat, power or electric current to the public or for public purposes, or a cooperative association organized under ch. 185
to furnish telegraph or telecommunications service or transmit heat, power or electric current to its members, establishes the prescriptive right to continue the use, except as provided by s. 893.29
. A person who has established a prescriptive right under this subsection may commence an action to establish prescriptive rights under ch. 843
The mere use of a way over unenclosed land is presumed to be permissive and not adverse.
History: 1979 c. 323
; 1985 a. 297
Adverse possession against the state or political subdivisions, special provision. 893.29(1)
Title to or interest in real property belonging to the state or a city, village, town, county, school district, sewerage commission, sewerage district or any other unit of government within this state may be obtained by adverse possession, prescription or user under s. 893.25
only if the adverse possession, prescription or user continues uninterruptedly for more than 20 years.
Notwithstanding sub. (1)
, no title to or interest in any of the following property shall be obtained by adverse possession, prescription or user:
Real property of an abandoned railroad acquired by the state under s. 85.09
Real property of a highway as defined in s. 340.01 (22)
and including property held by the state or a political subdivision for highway purposes, including but not limited to widening, alteration, relocation, improvement, reconstruction and construction.
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is based on present s. 893.10 (1), but the period for adverse possession against the state is reduced from 40 to 30  years. The previous provision presumably applied to the property of political subdivisions of the state, but this has been made express in this section. Note that regardless of which of ss. 893.25 to 893.28 apply against a private owner, this section requires 30  years for the obtaining of any rights in public land.
Because of the 30-year [20-year] period, adverse possession of the kind described in the 20-year statute is sufficient so that recording and good faith affect only the type of possession required and the amount of land possessed (see s. 893.26 (3) and (4)). Payment of taxes is irrelevant. [Bill 326-A]
Adverse possession provisions have prospective application only; possession must be taken after provision goes into effect. Petropoulos v. City of West Allis, 148 W (2d) 762, 436 NW (2d) 880 (Ct. App. 1989).
This section does not apply to a railroad. A railroad right-of-way is subject to adverse possession, the same as other lands. Maiers v. Wang, 192 W (2d) 115, 531 NW (2d) 54 (1995).
Presumption from legal title.
In every action to recover or for the possession of real property, and in every defense based on legal title, the person establishing a legal title to the premises is presumed to have been in possession of the premises within the time required by law, and the occupation of such premises by another person shall be deemed to have been under and in subordination to the legal title unless it appears that such premises have been held and possessed adversely to the legal title for 7 years under s. 893.27
, 10 years under s. 893.26
or 20 years under s. 893.25
, before the commencement of the action.
History: 1979 c. 323
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is based on previous s. 893.05. The last sentence is expanded to recognize the new 7-year statute in s. 893.27. The words "and in every defense based on legal title" are added to make clear that the presumption of this section applies whether the holder of legal title is suing to recover the land, or a claiming adverse possessor is suing to establish title to it. [Bill 326-A]
Lowest burden of proof applies in adverse possession cases. Kruse v. Horlamus Industries, 130 W (2d) 357, 387 NW (2d) 64 (1986).
Tenant's possession that of landlord.
Whenever the relation of landlord and tenant exists between any persons the possession of the tenant is the possession of the landlord until the expiration of 10 years from the termination of the tenancy; or if there is no written lease until the expiration of 10 years from the time of the last payment of rent, notwithstanding that the tenant may have acquired another title or may have claimed to hold adversely to his or her landlord. The period of limitation provided by s. 893.25
shall not commence until the period provided in this section expires.
History: 1979 c. 323
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This is present s. 893.11 renumbered for more logical placement and revised slightly for the purpose of textual clarity only. It complements and supplements s. 893.30 (previous s. 893.05). The 10-year period is retained as the period during which adverse possession (for any statutory period) cannot begin to run in favor of a tenant. Adoption of a 7-year statute in s. 893.27 does not affect the policy of this section. [Bill 326-A]
Entry upon real estate, when valid as interruption of adverse possession.
No entry upon real estate is sufficient or valid as an interruption of adverse possession of the real estate unless an action is commenced against the adverse possessor within one year after the entry and before the applicable adverse possession period of limitation specified in this subchapter has run, or unless the entry in fact terminates the adverse possession and is followed by possession by the person making the entry.
History: 1979 c. 323
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section replaces previous s. 893.04, which was very difficult to interpret with certainty. No change in substance is intended from the most reasonable probable interpretation of s. 893.04; indeed, the intention is to articulate that policy with greater clarity, consistent with the one decided case applying that section, Brockman v. Brandenburg, 197 Wis. 51, 221 N.W. 397 (1928). [Bill 326-A]
Action concerning real estate. 893.33(1)
In this section "purchaser" means a person to whom an estate, mortgage, lease or other interest in real estate is conveyed, assigned or leased for a valuable consideration.
Except as provided in subs. (5)
, no action affecting the possession or title of any real estate may be commenced, and no defense or counterclaim may be asserted, by any person, the state or a political subdivision or municipal corporation of the state after January 1, 1943, which is founded upon any unrecorded instrument executed more than 30 years prior to the date of commencement of the action, or upon any instrument recorded more than 30 years prior to the date of commencement of the action, or upon any transaction or event occurring more than 30 years prior to the date of commencement of the action, unless within 30 years after the execution of the unrecorded instrument or within 30 years after the date of recording of the recorded instrument, or within 30 years after the date of the transaction or event there is recorded in the office of the register of deeds of the county in which the real estate is located, some instrument expressly referring to the existence of the claim or defense, or a notice setting forth the name of the claimant, a description of the real estate affected and of the instrument or transaction or event on which the claim or defense is founded, with its date and the volume and page of its recording, if it is recorded, and a statement of the claims made. This notice may be discharged the same as a notice of pendency of action. Such notice or instrument recorded after the expiration of 30 years shall be likewise effective, except as to the rights of a purchaser of the real estate or any interest in the real estate which may have arisen after the expiration of the 30 years and prior to the recording.
The recording of a notice under sub. (2)
, or of an instrument expressly referring to the existence of the claim, extends for 30 years from the date of recording the time in which any action, defense or counterclaim founded upon the written instrument or transaction or event referred to in the notice or recorded instrument may be commenced or asserted. Like notices or instruments may thereafter be recorded with the same effect before the expiration of each successive 30-year period.
This section does not extend the right to commence any action or assert any defense or counterclaim beyond the date at which the right would be extinguished by any other statute.
This section bars all claims to an interest in real property, whether rights based on marriage, remainders, reversions and reverter clauses in covenants restricting the use of real estate, mortgage liens, old tax deeds, death and income or franchise tax liens, rights as heirs or under will, or any claim of any nature, however denominated, and whether such claims are asserted by a person sui juris or under disability, whether such person is within or without the state, and whether such person is natural or corporate, or private or governmental, unless within the 30-year period provided by sub. (2)
there has been recorded in the office of the register of deeds some instrument expressly referring to the existence of the claim, or a notice pursuant to this section. This section does not apply to any action commenced or any defense or counterclaim asserted, by any person who is in possession of the real estate involved as owner at the time the action is commenced. This section does not apply to any real estate or interest in real estate while the record title to the real estate or interest in real estate remains in a railroad corporation, a public service corporation as defined in s. 184.01
, an electric cooperative organized and operating on a nonprofit basis under ch. 185
, or any trustee or receiver of a railroad corporation, a public service corporation or an electric cooperative, or to claims or actions founded upon mortgages or trust deeds executed by that cooperative or corporation, or trustees or receivers of that cooperative or corporation. This section also does not apply to real estate or an interest in real estate while the record title to the real estate or interest in real estate remains in the state or a political subdivision or municipal corporation of this state.
Actions to enforce easements, or covenants restricting the use of real estate, set forth in any recorded instrument shall not be barred by this section for a period of 40 years after the date of recording such instrument, and the timely recording of an instrument expressly referring to the easements or covenants or of notices pursuant to this section shall extend such time for 40-year periods from the recording.
This section does not apply to any interest in a conservation easement under s. 700.40
NOTE: See note following s. 700.40.
Only the following may assert this section as a defense or in an action to establish title:
A successor of a purchaser of real estate, if the time for commencement of an action or assertion of a defense or counterclaim under this section had expired at the time the rights of the purchaser in the real estate arose.
If a period of limitation prescribed in s. 893.15 (5)
, 1977 stats., has begun to run prior to July 1, 1980, an action shall be commenced within the period prescribed by s. 893.15
, 1977 stats., or 40 years after July 1, 1980, whichever first terminates.
, 1977 stats., does not apply to extend the time for commencement of an action or assertion of a defense or counterclaim with respect to an instrument or notice recorded on or after July 1, 1980. If a cause of action is subject to sub. (8)
the recording of an instrument or notice as provided by this section after July 1, 1980 extends the time for commencement of an action or assertion of a defense or counterclaim as provided in this section, except that the time within which the notice or instrument must be recorded if the time is to be extended as to purchasers is the time limited by sub. (8)
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979 [deleted in part]: This section is based primarily on previous 893.15. That section, an interesting combination of limitations statute and marketable title statute, was of significant help to real estate titles since enactment in 1941. The beneficial effects were strengthened and expanded by enactment of s. 706.09 in 1967. This draft preserves the useful essence of previous s. 893.15, while updating some language. Changes which affect substance are:
(1) The 60-year provision relating to easements and covenants is reduced to 40 years.
(2) New subs. (8) and (9) are transitional provisions applying to limitation periods already running the period specified in previous s. 893.15, or the period in this statute, whichever is shorter.
(5) This draft makes explicit that only those who purchase for valuable consideration after the period of limitation has run or their successors may avail themselves of the benefits of this statute. There is no requirement that the purchaser be without notice, which is to be contrasted with s. 706.09 of the statutes where periods far shorter than 30 years are specified in many subsections. [Bill 326-A]
"Transaction or event" under s. 893.15 (1), 1975 stats. as applied to adverse possession means adverse possession for time period necessary to obtain title. Upon expiration of this period, the limitation under s. 893.15 (1), 1975 stats. commences to run. Leimert v. McCann, 79 W (2d) 289, 255 NW (2d) 526.
This section protects purchasers only. State v. Barkdoll, 99 W (2d) 163, 298 NW (2d) 539 (1980).
Public entity land owner was not protected from claim which was older than 30 years. State Historical Society v. Maple Bluff, 112 W (2d) 246, 332 NW (2d) 792 (1983).
Hunting and fishing rights are an easement under sub. (6). There is no distinction between a profit and an easement. Figliuzzi v. Carcajou Shooting Club, 184 W (2d) 572, 516 NW (2d) 410 (1994).
Immunity for property owners.
No suit may be brought against any property owner who, in good faith, terminates a tenancy as the result of receiving a notice from a law enforcement agency under s. 704.17 (1) (c)
, (2) (c)
or (3) (b)
History: 1993 a. 139
Action to recover personal property.
An action to recover personal property shall be commenced within 6 years after the cause of action accrues or be barred. The cause of action accrues at the time the wrongful taking or conversion occurs, or the wrongful detention begins. An action for damage for wrongful taking, conversion or detention of personal property shall be commenced within the time limited by s. 893.51
History: 1979 c. 323
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1979: This section is based on previous s. 893.19 (6), without change in substance, but with some expansion of language to make clear that accrual of the cause of action is not delayed until the person bringing the action learns of the wrongful taking or detention. The limitation with respect to an action for damages is contained in s. 893.51. [Bill 326-A]
Secured livestock. 893.36(1)(1)
An action by a secured party to recover damages or property, based upon the sale of livestock which when sold is the secured party's collateral, against the market agency which in the ordinary course of business conducts the auction of the livestock, or against a buyer in ordinary course of business shall be commenced within 2 years after the date of sale of the livestock, or be barred, if:
The debtor signs or endorses any writing arising from the transaction, including a check or draft, which states that the sale of the livestock is permitted by the secured party; and
The secured party does not commence an action, within 2 years after the date of sale of the livestock against the debtor for purposes of enforcing rights under the security agreement or an obligation secured by the security agreement.
This section does not apply to actions based upon a sale of livestock occurring prior to April 3, 1980, nor to an action by a secured party against its debtor. Section 893.35
applies to any action described in sub. (1)
if the limitation described in sub. (1)
is not applicable.
"Market agency" means a person regularly engaged in the business of receiving, buying or selling livestock whether on a commission basis or otherwise.