October 25, 2021

Volume XI, Number 298


October 22, 2021

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Changes in Property Condition Reports and Vacant Land Disclosure Reports in Wisconsin

Current Wisconsin State law requires sellers to provide a Property Condition Report (PCR) or a Vacant Land Disclosure Report (VLDR), upon the sale of certain land. The content of these reports change from time to time, along with the requirements for when and how they are to be delivered. Both reports have just been amended, effective for reports given to buyers after July 1, 2014.

The changes to the text of the PCR and VLDR are fairly limited. One of the changes informs the parties of a new State law applying to the sale of land which includes a private dam, which can be used to invalidate the real estate transaction if the parties do not complete a newly required dam transfer application before the property is sold.

The second change to these reports simply reflects the change in the State governmental agency which is charged with the responsibility of keeping a registry of all aboveground and underground storage tanks in the State. This obligation was moved to the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and the revised language incorporates that information.

The third change is the addition of a note which confirms that any offer which requires the inspection of an elevator or dumbwaiter in an individual dwelling unit must have that inspection performed by a licensed state inspector. The definition of “elevator” is broad enough to include escalators, and the definitions distinguish among different types of lift devices.

There are also a few text changes in the various forms of the PCR to make them more similar.

These new forms of the PCR and VLDR must be used in all instances where the buyer is given the report after July 1, 2014. An addendum form is provided so if the seller already completed the report on the old form, but delivery to the buyer will not happen until after the effective date, the two documents can be used together. There is no obligation to amend a report delivered to a buyer prior to that effective date.

These changes may seem minor, but the effect of violation is not. Under Section 709.05 of the Wisconsin Statutes, if a buyer is given an incomplete report, that buyer has rights to rescind the transaction under the provisions of this statute.

©2021 MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLPNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 191

About this Author

Nancy Leary Haggerty, Land Resources, Real Estate Attorney Michael Best Law Firm

Nancy is a partner in the Land & Resources Practice Group. Her more than 30 years of experience covers a broad range of real estate law, including assisting clients in purchases, sales and leases of property, and development and zoning work; representing borrowers and lenders in real estate loans; assisting in foreclosures and workouts; advising on questions of condominium law; negotiating construction and architects' contracts; and assisting in real estate litigation.

She has worked extensively with TIF financing and municipal development...