2021 - 2022 LEGISLATURE
April 8, 2021 - Introduced by Senator Ballweg, cosponsored by Representatives
Summerfield, Knodl, Rozar and Skowronski. Referred to Committee on
Housing, Commerce and Trade.
1An Act to create
710.20 of the statutes; relating to: maintenance and repair
2of private roads.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill requires all persons that have a right to use a private road or driveway
located on an access easement (beneficial users) to contribute to the reasonable and
necessary costs of maintenance and repair of the private road or driveway. If the
beneficial users enter into a written agreement to determine how costs are shared,
that agreement controls. In the absence of a written agreement, the bill requires the
beneficial users to contribute an equitable share based on the amount and intensity
of each beneficial user's actual use in proportion to the amount and intensity of all
beneficial users' actual use.
The cost-sharing obligation created in the bill does not apply to any of the
1. Costs for repairing damage, beyond reasonable wear and tear, caused by a
beneficial user or a guest or invitee of a beneficial user.
2. An access easement that benefits or burdens real estate owned by the state,
a political subdivision, or certain entities, including railroad corporations and public
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
710.20 of the statutes is created to read:
2710.20 Maintenance and repair of private roads. (1) Definitions.
In this 3
(a) “Access easement” means an easement that is appurtenant to real estate 5
and that provides ingress and egress between the real estate and a public road by 6
means of a private road or driveway.
(b) “Access easement holder” means the owner of real estate that is benefited 8
by an access easement.
(c) “Beneficial user” means a person that has a right to use a private road or 10
driveway. “Beneficial user” includes an owner of real estate burdened by an access 11
easement if the owner has a right to use the private road or driveway.
(d) “Owner” means a person that has a present ownership interest in real 13
estate. “Owner” includes a purchaser of real estate under a land contract that has 14
a right to occupy and use the real estate.
(e) “Private road or driveway” means a private road or driveway located on an 16
17(2) Costs of maintenance and repair.
Except as provided under subs. (3) and 18
(4), the beneficial users of a private road or driveway shall contribute to the 19
reasonable and necessary costs of maintenance and repair of the private road or 20
driveway as provided in a written agreement entered into by the beneficial users for 21
that purpose. In the absence of such an agreement, the beneficial users shall 22
contribute an equitable share based on the amount and intensity of each beneficial 23
user's actual use in proportion to the amount and intensity of all beneficial users' 24
actual use. In determining whether costs are reasonable and necessary, the 25
beneficial users may consider any of the following factors:
(a) Whether notice of, and an opportunity to participate in, the decision to 2
undertake the maintenance and repair was provided to the beneficial users.
(b) Whether the costs were incurred for work that constituted improvements 4
rather than maintenance or repair.
(c) Whether the work was of a reasonable quality and cost.
(d) The value of monetary or in-kind contributions to maintenance and repair 7
made by beneficial users.
8(3) Costs to repair damage.
Except as provided in sub. (4), if a beneficial user 9
or a guest or invitee of a beneficial user causes damage to a private road or driveway, 10
except reasonable wear and tear, the beneficial user is solely responsible for the costs 11
of repairing the damage.
This section does not apply to an access easement to which any 13
of the following applies:
(a) The access easement holder or the owner of real estate that is burdened by 15
the access easement is any of the following:
1. A railroad corporation.
2. A public utility, as defined in s. 196.01 (5).
3. A water carrier, as defined in s. 195.02 (5).
4. An electric cooperative organized and operating on a nonprofit basis under 20
5. A natural gas company, as defined in 15 USC 717a
6. A trustee or receiver of a person described under subds. 1. to 5.
(b) The access easement holder or the owner of real estate that is burdened by 24
the access easement is the state or any of its political subdivisions.
This act first applies to maintenance or repair of a private road or driveway, 2
as defined in s. 710.20 (1) (e), that is conducted on the effective date of this subsection.