The doctrine of merger of title that: “No man can, technically, be said to have an easement in his own land. And the consequence is, that if the same person becomes owner in fee simple of both estates, the easement is extinguished," did not apply to extinguish easements created in a condominium declaration. Creation of a condominium is, by statute, a unilateral act by the owner in anticipation of a future sale. It does not involve any transfer of rights to a third party and does not create any new rights that can immediately merge back into the fee. Rather, it is a document defining rights to be sold in the future. Anderson v. Quinn, 2007 WI App 260
, 306 Wis. 2d 686
, 743 N.W.2d 492
Modification and correction of recorded condominium instruments, amendments, and addenda. 703.095(1)(1)
A recorded condominium instrument, amendment, or addendum may be modified only by recording an amendment, addendum, or correction instrument, or by removal from the provisions of this chapter under s. 703.28 (1)
The register of deeds may record an amendment, addendum, or correction instrument only if the document complies with s. 703.065
, if applicable, and satisfies all of the following criteria:
It refers to the condominium instrument, amendment, or addendum being modified or corrected, including the document number assigned to the document being modified, and if volume and page numbers are assigned to the document being modified or corrected, the volume and page where the document is recorded.
It is numbered consecutively and states that it is an amendment and restatement of the condominium instrument being modified or corrected.
It clearly states the changes being made to the condominium instrument, amendment, or addendum it is modifying or correcting.
A correction instrument may be used only to correct a scrivener error on a condominium plat, including erroneous distances, angles, directions, bearings, chords, building or unit numbers, and street names.
History: 1997 a. 333
; 2017 a. 333
; 2021 a. 168
; s. 35.17 correction in (2) (c), (d).
Bylaws to govern administration.
The administration of every condominium shall be governed by bylaws. Every unit owner shall comply strictly with the bylaws and with the rules adopted under the bylaws, as the bylaws or rules are amended from time to time, and with the covenants, conditions and restrictions set forth in the declaration or in the deed to the unit. Failure to comply with any of the bylaws, rules, covenants, conditions or restrictions is grounds for action to recover sums due, for damages or injunctive relief or both maintainable by the association or, in a proper case, by an aggrieved unit owner.
The bylaws shall express at least the following particulars:
The form of administration, indicating whether the association shall be incorporated or unincorporated, and whether, and to what extent, the duties of the association may be delegated to a board of directors, manager or otherwise, and specifying the powers, manner of selection and removal of them.
The method of calling the unit owners to assemble; the attendance necessary to constitute a quorum at any meeting of the association; the manner of notifying the unit owners of any proposed meeting; who presides at the meetings of the association, who keeps the minute book for recording the resolutions of the association and who counts votes at meetings of the association.
The election by the unit owners of a board of directors of whom not more than one is a nonunit owner, the number of persons constituting the same and that the terms of at least one-third of the directors shall expire annually, the powers and duties of the board, the compensation, if any, of the directors, the method of removal from office of directors and whether or not the board may engage the services of a manager or managing agent.
The manner of assessing against and collecting from unit owners their respective shares of the common expenses.
The manner of borrowing money and acquiring and conveying property.
Limitation on enforcement of certain provisions.
No bylaw or rule adopted under a bylaw and no covenant, condition or restriction set forth in a declaration or deed to a unit may be applied to discriminate against an individual in a manner described in s. 106.50
Permissible additional provisions.
The bylaws also may contain any other provision regarding the management and operation of the condominium, including any restriction on or requirement respecting the use and maintenance of the units and the common elements.
Prohibiting voting by certain unit owners.
The bylaws may contain a provision prohibiting any unit owner from voting at a meeting of the association if the association has recorded a statement of condominium lien on the person's unit and the amount necessary to release the lien has not been paid at the time of the meeting.
The bylaws may be amended by the affirmative vote of unit owners having 67 percent or more of the votes. Each particular set forth in sub. (2)
shall be expressed in the bylaws as amended. Following an amendment to the bylaws, the association shall promptly deliver to each unit owner a copy of the approved amendment.
Title to condominium units unaffected by bylaws.
Title to a condominium unit is not rendered unmarketable or otherwise affected by any provision of the bylaws or by reason of any failure of the bylaws to comply with the provisions of this chapter.
Because sub. (6) prohibits condominium bylaws from affecting the transfer of title to a condominium unit, a bylaw prohibiting the sale of any condominium unit to an owner who would not reside in the condominium unit could not be applied to prevent the confirmation of a foreclosure sale to the high bidder who admitted he would not occupy the premises. Bankers Trust Co. of California, N.A. v. Bregant, 2003 WI App 86
, 261 Wis. 2d 855
, 661 N.W.2d 498
A condominium complex may prohibit the rental of condominium units through an amendment to the bylaws. Nothing in s. 703.09 (1) (g) or in any other section of this chapter requires that all restrictions on use must be identified in the declaration. Sub. (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 Ass'n v. MacHutta, 2009 WI 28
, 316 Wis. 2d 85
, 763 N.W.2d 126
Display of the United States flag and political signs. 703.105(1)(1)
No bylaw or rule may be adopted or provision included in a declaration or deed that prohibits a unit owner from respectfully displaying the United States flag.
No bylaw or rule may be adopted or provision included in a declaration or deed that prohibits a unit owner from displaying in his or her condominium a sign that supports or opposes a candidate for public office or a referendum question.
Notwithstanding subs. (1)
, bylaws or rules may be adopted that regulate the size and location of signs, flags and flagpoles.
History: 2003 a. 161
; 2005 a. 303
Condominium plat. 703.11(1)(1)
To be filed for record.
When any condominium instruments are recorded, the declarant shall file a condominium plat to be recorded in a separate plat book maintained for condominium plats or stored electronically in the register of deeds office.
A condominium plat may consist of one or more sheets, shall be produced on media that is acceptable to the register of deeds, and shall contain at least the following particulars:
The name of the condominium and county in which the property is located on each sheet of the plat. The name of the condominium must be unique in the county in which the condominium is located. If there is more than one sheet, each sheet shall be consecutively numbered and show the relation of that sheet number to the total number of sheets.
A blank space at least 3 inches by 3 inches in size in the upper right corner on the first sheet for recording use by the register of deeds.
A survey of the property described in the declaration that satisfies all of the following criteria:
The survey complies with minimum standards for property surveys adopted by the examining board of architects, landscape architects, professional engineers, designers, professional land surveyors, and registered interior designers.
The survey shows the location of any unit or building located or to be located on the property.
Par. (b) is shown as affected by 2021 Wis. Acts 168
and as merged by the legislative reference bureau under s. 13.92 (2) (i).
Plans that show the location of each building located or to be located on the property and, if there are units in a building, that show the perimeters, approximate dimensions, approximate square footage, and location of each unit in the building. Common elements shall be shown graphically to the extent feasible.
All survey maps and floor plans submitted for recording shall be legibly prepared with a binding margin of 1.5 inches on the left side and a one-inch margin on all other sides on durable white media that is 14 inches long by 22 inches wide with a permanent nonfading black image. The maps and plans shall be drawn to a convenient scale.
Designation of units.
Every unit shall be designated on the condominium plat by the unit number. Unit numbers may not contain more than 8 numerals and must be unique throughout the condominium.
Professional land surveyor's certificate.
A condominium plat is sufficient for the purposes of this chapter if there is attached to or included in it a certificate of a professional land surveyor that the plat is a correct representation of the condominium described and the identification and location of each unit and the common elements can be determined from the plat.
Except as provided in ss. 703.095
, a condominium plat may be modified only by an addendum that is accomplished in the same manner as an amendment to the declaration under s. 703.09 (2)
. An addendum is effective when it is recorded in the manner described under s. 703.07 (2)
NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 283
, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
Local review of condominium instruments. 703.115(1)(1)
A county may adopt an ordinance to require the review of condominium instruments before recording by persons employed by the county of recording or by a city, village or town that is located in whole or in part in the county of recording if the ordinance does all of the following:
Requires the review to be completed within 10 working days after submission of the condominium instrument and provides that, if the review is not completed within this period, the condominium instrument is approved for recording.
If the person performing the review approves the condominium instrument, requires the person to certify approval in writing, accompanied by his or her signature and title.
An ordinance adopted under this section may authorize the county to charge a fee that reflects the actual cost of performing the review.
Description of units.
A description in any deed or other instrument affecting title to any unit, including a conveyance, as defined in s. 706.01 (4)
, that makes reference to the letter, number, or other appropriate designation of the unit on the condominium plat, the name of the condominium as it appears in the declaration, the name of the county where the condominium is located, the document numbers assigned to the declaration, and if volume and page numbers are assigned to the declaration, the volume and page where the declaration is recorded, shall be a good and sufficient description for all purposes.
The requirements of ch. 236 may not be used to legally describe condominium units. 75 Atty. Gen. 94
Percentage interests. 703.13(1)(1)
Undivided percentage interest in common elements.
Every unit owner owns an undivided percentage interest in the common elements equal to that set forth in the declaration. Except as specifically provided in this chapter, all common elements shall remain undivided. Except as provided in this chapter, no unit owner, nor any other person, may bring a suit for partition of the common elements and any covenant or provision in any declaration, bylaws or other instrument to the contrary is void.
Rights to common surpluses.
Common surpluses shall be disbursed as provided under s. 703.16 (1)
Liability for common expenses.
Except for the specially assessed common expenses, the amount of all common expenses shall be assessed as provided under s. 703.16 (2)
Change in percentage interest.
The percentage interests shall have a permanent character and, except as specifically provided by this chapter, may not be changed without the written consent of all of the unit owners and their mortgagees. Any change shall be evidenced by an amendment and recorded among the appropriate land records. The percentage interests may not be separated from the unit to which they appertain. Any instrument, matter, circumstance, action, occurrence, or proceeding in any manner affecting a unit also shall affect, in like manner, the percentage interests appurtenant to the unit.
A unit owner may make any improvements or alterations within his or her unit that do not impair the structural integrity or lessen the support of any portion of the condominium and that do not create a nuisance substantially affecting the use and enjoyment of other units or the common elements. A unit owner may not change the exterior appearance of a unit or of any other portion of the condominium without permission of the board of directors of the association.
Except to the extent prohibited by the condominium instruments, and subject to any restrictions and limitation specified therein, a unit owner acquiring an adjoining or adjoining part of an adjoining unit, may remove all or any part of any intervening partition or create doorways or other apertures therein, even if the partition may in whole or in part be a common element, if those acts do not impair the structural integrity or lessen the support of any portion of the condominium. The creation of doorways or other apertures is not deemed an alteration of boundaries.
Improvements to limited common elements. 703.13(5m)(a)
If permitted by the condominium instruments and subject to par. (b)
and to any restrictions or limitations specified in the condominium instruments, a unit owner may improve, including the enclosure of, the limited common elements appurtenant exclusively to that owner's unit if all of the following conditions are met:
A statement describing the improvement, including a description of the project, the materials to be used, and the project's proposed impact on the appearance of the condominium, and identifying the project contractor is submitted to the board of directors of the association.
The improvement will not interfere with the use and enjoyment of the units of other unit owners or the common elements or limited common elements of the condominium.
The improvement will not impair the structural integrity of the condominium.
Any change to the exterior appearance of the condominium is approved by the board of directors of the association.
All costs and expenses of an improvement under this subsection and any increased costs of maintenance and repair of the limited common elements resulting from the improvement are the obligation of the unit owner. The unit owner shall protect the association and other unit owners from liens on property of the association or of other unit owners that otherwise might result from the improvement.
If any condominium instruments expressly permit a relocation of boundaries between adjoining units, those boundaries may be relocated in accordance with this section and any restrictions and limitations which the condominium instruments may specify.
If any unit owners of adjoining units whose mutual boundaries may be relocated desire to relocate those boundaries, the principal officer of the unit owners association, upon written application from those unit owners and after 30 days' written notice to all other unit owners, shall prepare and execute appropriate instruments.
An amendment shall do all of the following:
Identify the units involved and state that the boundaries between those units are being relocated by agreement of the unit owners thereof.
Contain words of conveyance between the owners of the units identified in subd. 1.
If the adjoining unit owners have specified in their written application the reallocation between their units of the aggregate undivided interest in the common elements appertaining to those units, reflect that reallocation.
An amendment under par. (c)
shall be adopted, at the option of the adjoining unit owners, either under s. 703.09 (2)
or by the written consent of the owners of the adjoining units involved and the mortgagees of the adjoining units.
If the adjoining unit owners have specified in their written application a reasonable reallocation, as determined by the board of directors, of the number of votes in the association or liabilities for future common expenses not specially assessed, appertaining to their units, modifications to the condominium instruments shall reflect those reallocations. An amendment under this paragraph shall be adopted in the manner specified in par. (cm)
An addendum showing the altered boundaries and the dimensions thereof between adjoining units, and their identifying numbers or letters, shall be prepared. The addendum shall be certified as to its accuracy in compliance with this subsection by a professional land surveyor.
After appropriate instruments have been prepared and executed, they shall be delivered promptly to the adjoining unit owners upon payment by them of all reasonable costs for the preparation thereof. Those instruments are effective when the adjoining unit owners have executed them and they are recorded in the name of the grantor and grantee. The recordation thereof is conclusive evidence that the relocation of boundaries did not violate any restriction or limitation in the condominium instruments.
In this subsection, “separator” means a person proposing the separation of a unit.
If any condominium instruments expressly permit the separation of a unit into 2 or more units, a separation shall be made in accordance with this section and any restrictions and limitations which the condominium instruments may specify.