by K. Andreah Briarmoon
What is the purpose of the Wisconsin statute? To protect citizens and their rights.
From whom is the citizen being protected? From other citizen unreasonable expectations or demands, and from city or government employee unreasonable demands.
What citizen right is protected by the Wisconsin statute 66.0413 labeled Razing Buildings? The right to maintain, repair, and retain citizen owned buildings. A building on privately owned land is citizen personal property, and a real estate improvement asset, that is their privately owned building.
What other citizen right with respect to building ownership does this statute protect? The citizen right to not be required to incur unreasonable expense with regard to the expected owner repair, maintenance, and retention of their privately owned buildings.
Who expects citizens to repair, maintain, and retain their buildings? Other citizens, citizen neighbors, and the citizen community.
Why is there the expectation that a citizen would maintain, repair, and retain a building? Because a building has much value to the owner, to the neighbors, and to the community. In what ways?
A building adds to the land real estate property value.
Adds to the resale value.
Adds to the highest and best use of the property.
Adds to the tax base.
Appreciates in value.
Is a tax depreciation tool.
Is collateral for long term debt.
Is the major tool, second only to the land itself, in a capitalist economic system, as a source of income generation to the citizen owner.
This income is in the form of residential occupancy rents, commercial occupancy rents, storage rents, commerce income to the owner from retail, service or manufacturing activities.
What if a citizen claims that the expense to repair, maintain, and retain the building is cost prohibitive to that citizen?
The statute says that a repair cost that is less than a certain percentage of the tax-assessed value of the building is presumed reasonable. That is, the neighbors and the community have reason to pressure and expect the owner to repair, maintain, and retain the building.
Can the cost be required of the owner? No. The cost can only be considered reasonable. The property owner always has the right to eliminate his own property, though to do so could cause undo hardship to the neighbors’ property values and to the communities revenues for which the owner could be held liable. Unless the owner is replacing the prior building with a better one, in most cases, the owner destruction of his own real estate assets would be an unwise financial decision. How does a citizen demonstrate that the cost of repair would be unreasonable? The statute gives the citizen a formula. If the cost exceeds a certain percentage of the tax-assessed value then the cost is “presumed unreasonable”.
What if a citizen can not or will not repair or maintain a building? The neighbors register a complaint with the city employees who give notice to the owner of the option to either repair the building or raze the building, with a time line for repair.
What if the owner can not or will not repair or maintain the building, and wants to raze the building but is not able to afford out-of-pocket expense for the demolition of the building, and also the owner does not object to the razing of the building? Then the owner may allow, expect and even demand city employee demolition, with the demolition expense billed to the owner’s property tax.
What is the assumption of the tax assessed value amount of a building? That the tax assessment is within 93 to 98 % of the resale, replacement, replication, or income replacement potential of the building. Is that always the case? No. What are ways to determine the building value if the tax assessment amount is inappropriate? A professional appraisal. An estimate of the labor and materials to replace and/or replicate the building. A financial analysis of the building worth based on building revenue generating capacity.
What if the owner is not able to repair or maintain the building but refuses to raze the building or allow the city employees to raze the building? After, and only after the building has deteriorated to the point that it is a public nuisance can the city employee take this before a judge in a court of law to request an order that the building be razed against the owner’s wishes. At which time the judge will again give a time line for the owner to be able to repair, maintain and retain the building. This additional time line by the judge is given prior to issuing such an order with the assumption again that to retain the building is in the short-term and long-term best interests of the citizen owner, the citizen neighbors, and the citizen community.
What is a “public nuisance”? A violation of citizen rights.
How could the condition of a citizen owned building violate the citizen neighbor rights or the citizen community rights? If the building deterioration is bad enough to cause financially negative consequence to the property value, use, and income potential to the owner, to the neighbors, and to the community. And/or the deterioration poses a threat to the health, safety and wellbeing of the citizen owner, the citizen neighbors, or the citizen community.
How could “public nuisance” be determined? The structural soundness of the building could be evaluated by an architect and/or structural engineer.
Thus the city employee inappropriate abuse of this statute to take and destroy the homes and buildings of citizens, against citizen wishes, without adequate evaluation, and without the order and signature of a judge in a court of law, is a major violation of the personal rights and the property rights of the citizen, of the citizen neighbors, and of the citizen community of Janesville Wisconsin, against the intent of Wisconsin statute 66.0413.
How could the city administration possibly benefit by forcing citizens to allow demolition of their buildings that they are able and willing to repair and maintain? The city can save money on their redevelopment projects by using the code department to abuse citizen property rights and to confiscate citizen buildings and homes. If the city demolishes the buildings and sends the bill to the owner, then they do not have to pay fair market value and relocation expenses to the citizen with eminent domain for the acquisition of buildings and lots. Seven other cities in Wisconsin are currently using this scam.
This practice must be stopped and full restitution must be made to the citizen victims from the city employee demolition of their personal property.
February 4th, 2004
K. Andreah Briarmoon
339 South Locust Street
Janesville, Wisconsin 53548-4655
Phone: 608-754-3999 Cell: 608-295-3110