THE ASSESSOR'S AUTHORITY TO ENTER LAND
Wisconsin Assessment Law 70.32 requires assessors to value property from actual view or from the best information that can practicably be obtained. However, Statute 70.05 limits the assessor’s access to your land to once per year unless you consent to more often. Wisconsin Trespass Laws (943.13 and 943.15) do not apply to an assessor and an assessor's staff entering your land or construction site (other than buildings, agricultural land or pasture, or a livestock confinement area) if all of the following occur:
- The assessor or the assessor's staff enters the land or construction site in order to make an assessment on behalf of the state or a political subdivision.
- The assessor or assessor's staff enters the land or construction site on a weekday during daylight hours or at another time as agreed upon with the land owner.
- The assessor or assessor's staff spends no more than one hour on the land or construction site.
- The assessor or assessor's staff does not open doors, enter through open doors, or look into windows of structures on the land or construction site.
- The assessor or the assessor's staff leaves in a prominent place on the principal building on the land or construction site, or on the land if there is not a principal building, a notice informing the owner or occupant that the assessor or the assessor's staff entered the land or construction site and giving information on how to contact the assessor.
- The assessor or the assessor's staff has not personally received a notice from the owner or occupant, either orally or in writing, not to enter or remain on the premises.
HOME OWNER RIGHTS
The Wisconsin Property Assessor’s Manual (Chapter 4) requires that assessors request interior inspections of all buildings at least once every ten years because it provides for more accurate assessments and fairness in taxation. Assessments are based on market value - what a home would sell for on the open market between a willing seller and buyer. Market value can be greatly impacted by a home’s interior condition, amenities, room layout, etc.
However, State law 70.05 (4m) recognizes your right to privacy. You have the right to refuse entry into your residence. Entry to view your property is prohibited unless voluntarily authorized by you. You have the right to refuse a visual inspection of the interior of your residence, and your refusal to allow an interior inspection of your residence will not be used as the sole reason for increasing your property tax assessment. Refusing entry to your residence also does not prohibit you from objecting to your assessment at the Board of Review.