Property Disputes in Wisconsin
Property disputes in Wisconsin are common between neighbors. They even occur between companies and governments. People want to protect what is legally theirs, but sometimes the boundary lines are not clear. Find out what you can do if you have a property dispute in Wisconsin. Discover the legal remedies and actions that can help you clear up a misunderstanding or manage an issue involving your property.
What Is a Property Dispute?
Property disputes are legal disputes that involve real estate, including single-family homes, apartments, roads, condominiums, and ponds. Wisconsin property disputes can involve a wide range of parties, which might include some of the following:
- Homeowners’ association
- Landlords and tenants
- Family members
- Property visitors
- Government agencies
When your dispute involves local ordinances, there’s a chance that your case can resolve in a municipal court. Otherwise, property dispute litigation in Wisconsin goes through one of the state’s circuit courts.
Common Types of Wisconsin Property Disputes
Often, the result of a property dispute in Wisconsin is the plaintiff will receive compensation to cover their losses. The most common property disputes include:
- Disputes between neighbors regarding where property lines exist
- Disputes between landlords and tenants regarding who is at fault for damage to the property
- Homeowners and real estate developers disagreeing over who is responsible for repairs on construction
- People blocking their neighbor’s view via a “spite fence” or another structure specifically made to annoy their neighbor
- Disputes between mortgage lenders and creditors over who can foreclose a property and who receives the proceeds of a sale
- Disputes between homeowners and government agencies about whether they have a utility easement
- Ownership disputes about who is the rightful owner of a property
- Issues with zoning
Beyond these examples, you may find other situations in Wisconsin where a property dispute occurs. In general, if you own land, you have to constantly watch out for it and ensure that others are not using it illegally or trying to claim it as their own.
Understanding Typical Wisconsin Property Disputes
Dealing with someone destroying anything on your property can be upsetting. This feeling is particularly potent when it involves a tree, shrubberies, or flowers. Accordingly, Wisconsin Statutes give explicit permission to sue when this occurs. In return, the courts can award up to four times the stump value of a tree or two times the market value. Removing or otherwise damaging a tree on your property also has penalties under current criminal law.
Additionally, according to the Department of Agriculture, Wisconsin brings over $104.8 billion to its economy through this industry. Farms, ranches, and other land management operations play a significant role in the state. As a result of this dynamic, the Wisconsin State Assembly passed Right to Farm laws to deter nuisance lawsuits. Depending on what side of a property dispute you are on currently, this legislation will likely play a powerful role in litigation.
Legal Process for Boundary Disputes in Wisconsin
Has someone brought a property dispute against you in Wisconsin, or are you starting a property dispute against someone else? If so, you need to understand the legal process you will go through. This process begins with understanding the issue at hand.
Understand the Boundary Issue
To understand the specific boundary dispute, you’ll have to do the following things:
- Complete a land survey to locate the exact boundary of your home as outlined in the legal description of the deed. This survey will help you understand your property and how much of your land is encroached.
- Conduct an appraisal to learn the exact market value of the piece of property that is in dispute.
- Do a title search to find all of the documents in the chain of title of your Wisconsin property. The title search will show if any deeds may affect your ownership.
These things will likely have happened when you purchased the home. If that’s the case, the documents you already have should suffice unless the case goes to court.
In particular, something as simple as fencing between properties can be a significant issue. A notable example of its potential influence in a civil case comes directly from Wisconsin law. Partition fences are a requirement for adjoining properties where an owner participates in farming or ranching. Without full knowledge of options like this one, you may not understand your chances of success in court.
Try to Find a Solution with Your Neighbor
Wisconsin dispute litigation can cost a fortune, not to mention it can take a long time to settle a dispute. That’s why it’s important to open a discussion between you and your neighbor. If you can reach an agreement and settle the dispute without going to court, you can save time and money.
Try to communicate directly with your neighbor. You can attempt sending a letter, email, making a phone call, or visiting their home if that’s a safe option.
If no progress happens and it’s clear that you and your neighbor are still on completely different pages, then it’s time to take legal action.
Send a Demand Letter
At this point, you should consider hiring an attorney to assist you. They can help you understand if you have legal grounds upon which to stand. If you do, then you can send a demand letter.
This letter will be from your Wisconsin attorney to your neighbor, and it will outline the property dispute. It will give your neighbor the option to respond via a requested action, or it will provide a reasonable price for settling the dispute out of court.
Your neighbor will likely forward this letter to their attorney to better understand the boundary dispute. From there, the attorneys on both sides will decide the best course of action moving forward.
Go to Court or Reach a Settlement
Typically, the best option for both sides is to settle the dispute out of court to avoid costly litigation fees. But if your negotiations are going nowhere, it might be necessary to file the dispute with the court. The court will look closely at the evidence presented and determine who owns the Wisconsin property in question. If you can’t reach an agreement, then the court will make a final decision based on the evidence you both submit. The court’s decision is legally binding. You may not agree with it, or it may not be exactly the result you wanted to see. That is why it is always in your best interest to settle.
Work With an Experienced Local Property Dispute Lawyer in Wisconsin
When it comes to property disputes, you should work with an experienced property dispute lawyer. Whether you’re filing a property dispute against your neighbor or you are defending a dispute brought against you, you’ll need a lawyer that understands Wisconsin property law on your side. An experienced lawyer can help you settle before taking the dispute to court, which will save you both time and money. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Wisconsin state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!