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For years, municipalities were able to enact various requirements that needed to be met before title to property could be transferred.

These obligations were known as Time of Sale Requirements and their content and enforcement was generally left to the municipality’s discretion.

Such requirements could range from having the property inspected to having improvements made (turning a gravel driveway into a paved one, for example).

If the requirements were not fulfilled, the municipality had many remedies, including preventing the sale from closing until the seller complied.

The requirements were particularly common in communities with older houses. For example, Shorewood and Bayside required comprehensive inspections when a property was sold to ensure that the property was code compliant.

However, Time of Sale Requirements added another hurdle to residential closings. Additionally, their local nature sometimes resulted in parties overlooking them until just before closing.

This oversight could result in a seller either having to delay closing or scramble to meet the requirements—at a significant and unexpected cost.

Recognizing these problems, the Wisconsin legislature passed 2015 Wisconsin Act 55, effective July 14, 2015.

The new law broadly prevents local governments (village, city, town or county) from creating or enforcing local Time of Sale Requirements.

Act 55 prohibits enforcement of requirements related to local inspections, improvements or repairs, removing junk or debris, mowing or pruning, maintenance and weatherproofing, and compliance with building codes and other property condition standards.

While the new law eliminates local requirements, it leaves in place statewide Time of Sale Requirements.

One statewide example is the Wisconsin Rental Weatherization Program, which requires that certain non-owner occupied residential properties be inspected for energy efficiency.

FOS lawyers can help you determine which Time of Sale Requirements apply to your transaction, ensure a smooth purchase or sale transaction, and resolve municipal attempts to enforce invalid Time of Sale Requirements.