2011 Wisconsin Code
Chapter 893. Limitations of commencement of actions and proceedings and procedure for claims against governmental units.
893.28 Prescriptive rights by adverse user.

893.28

893.28 Prescriptive rights by adverse user.

893.28(1)

(1) Continuous adverse use of rights in real estate of another for at least 20 years, except as provided in s. 893.29 establishes the prescriptive right to continue the use. Any person who in connection with his or her predecessor in interest has made continuous adverse use of rights in the land of another for 20 years, except as provided by s. 893.29, may commence an action to establish prescriptive rights under ch. 843.

893.28(2)

(2) Continuous use of rights in real estate of another for at least 10 years by a domestic corporation organized to furnish telegraph or telecommunications service or transmit heat, power or electric current to the public or for public purposes, by a cooperative association organized under ch. 185 or 193 to furnish telegraph or telecommunications service, or by a cooperative organized under ch. 185 to transmit heat, power or electric current to its members, establishes the prescriptive right to continue the use, except as provided by s. 893.29. A person who has established a prescriptive right under this subsection may commence an action to establish prescriptive rights under ch. 843.

893.28(3)

(3) The mere use of a way over unenclosed land is presumed to be permissive and not adverse.

893.28 - ANNOT.

History: 1979 c. 323; 1985 a. 297 s. 76; 2005 a. 441.

893.28 - ANNOT.

Once the right to a prescriptive easement has accrued by virtue of compliance with sub. (1) for the requisite 20-year period, the holder of the prescriptive easement must comply with the recording requirements within 30 years under s. 893.33 (2) or lose the right to continued use. Schauer v. Baker, 2004 WI App 41, 270 Wis. 2d 714, 678 N.W.2d 258, 02-1674.

893.28 - ANNOT.

As sub. (1) is written, it is more natural to read "of another" to modify "real estate," rather than "rights." That is, by continuous use, one may gain a prescriptive right in another's real estate. The real estate in which a right is gained must belong to another person. A setback restriction in an owner's deed was not a "right in real estate" belonging to "another" that the owner could use adversely by continually violating the setback. Hall v. Liebovich Living Trust, 2007 WI App 112, 300 Wis. 2d 725, 731 N.W.2d 649, 06-0040.

893.28 - ANNOT.

Sub. (2) applies to permissive uses. An agreement that permitted an electric utility to construct and maintain electrical poles and transmission lines on a landowner's property that was revocable upon 30 days' written notice gave the utility "rights in real estate of another" under sub. (2). Use of the property for more than 10 years by the utility established the prescriptive right to continue the use. Williams v. American Transmission Company, LLC, 2007 WI App 246, 306 Wis. 2d 181, 742 N.W.2d 882, 07-0052.

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