Understanding Wisconsin statutes is part of the job when you are appointed the board member, manager, or executive of a homeowners association (HOA). However, knowing where to start is crucial, and with a myriad of laws that apply to HOAs in Wisconsin, having a simple guide can make a world of difference.

In this article, we'll walk you through some of the most important parts of Wisconsin law that regulate community associations in the state.

What Are Common Interest Communities, and Why Do They Need HOAs?

Common interest communities are housing developments in which residents share facilities and duties. Condominiums, gated communities, and planned developments are examples of these. HOAs are essential in such communities for managing and maintaining common assets such as parks, pools, and roadways.

They enforce laws and regulations to maintain the look, security, and property values of the neighborhood. HOAs charge homeowners fees to fund maintenance and settle disputes. Through elected boards, they also encourage communal decision-making.

While they can help a residential planned community with its maintenance practices, homeowners associations in Wisconsin can also be a source of contention due to fees, regulations, and fines.

Your Guide to Wisconsin Law

Homeowners associations in Wisconsin are governed by certain state laws. It's important to remember that these private entities are also regulated by their own internal governing documents. In the section below, we'll explore some of the most important Wisconsin HOA laws.

Wisconsin Nonstock Corporations Act

There is no dedicated state law in Wisconsin that governs homeowner's associations. The majority of HOAs are officially recognized as nonprofit organizations under the Wisconsin Nonstock Corporations Act, which can be found in Chapter 21 of the Wisconsin Statutes. This statute governs the internal operations and responsibilities of members and directors.

Wisconsin Open Housing Law

Wisconsin has its own law that protects homeowners from housing discrimination. It is similar to the Federal Fair Housing Act and offers state-level protections. The Open Housing Law makes it illegal for HOAs to discriminate against homeowners based on characteristics such as race, disability, familial status, and more.

Wisconsin Condominium Ownership Act

This act oversees the establishment, supervision, and functions of condominium associations established under it by filing a declaration with the local county register of deeds.

Wisconsin Disclosures by Owners of Real Estate Law Act

The Wisconsin Disclosures by Owners of Real Estate Law Act requires that anyone involved in the sale, exchange, or land contract transfer of real estate with one to four dwelling units.

This includes condominium units and time-share properties. Such associations must provide certain information and paperwork, as specified in sections 709.02 to 709.04 and 709.06, unless the transfer qualifies for an exemption under 77.25 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Fees and Fines

Community associations in Wisconsin have the authority to levy fines on homeowners for late-payments and the violation of its rules. The HOA's governing documents specify the amount, type, and notification requirements.

However, HOAs in Wisconsin may not penalize a residential lot owner for displaying political signs and the national flag, provided it is done in accordance with the relevant laws. They are also not permitted to restrict the installation of satellite dishes and antennas but may include rules regarding how these items are to be placed.

About DoorLoop's HOA Tools

Does this all sound a bit overwhelming? The truth is that managing a homeowners association in Wisconsin is no easy task, so having the right tools can make a world of difference.

HOA management software can help you comply with the relevant Wisconsin HOA laws, rules, and regulations while also streamlining your daily responsibilities. You are able to effortlessly integrate our software into your daily operations thanks to a cutting-edge and user-friendly interface.

Use DoorLoop to keep track of work orders, produce budgets and reports with ease, and plan meetings effortlessly. Our software has powerful features, such as data storage capabilities, accounting tools, and much, much more. 

Furthermore, our staff are always available to assist you if you run into any problems, ensuring that your tools are readily available and working as intended. 

Schedule your free demo to try our property management software, or contact us today to learn more!

Final Thoughts

Now that you have access to the information you need, you're well on your way to running a successful homeowners association in Wisconsin.

Be sure to do additional research into the laws enforced by your local county to ensure that you are fully compliant. There may also be other state and federal laws that might apply to your HOA, so we recommend consulting a legal expert for advice.

To try DoorLoop's innovative HOA management software, get in touch with us today!


1. What new state laws were enacted?

In January 2023, a new law was passed that affects how homeowners associations are operated. Homeowner's associations in Wisconsin are now required to annually file public notices with the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions.

These notices should provide general data and contact details. It will be accessible on the department's website and will be useful in obtaining HOA contact details as well as additional general information.

2. How can I stay up to date on the latest developments in Wisconsin HOA law?

HOA-USA offers information to homeowners association managers, board members, and executives. You can visit its website here and sign up to be a subscriber or contact them using the mailing address, which is posted on the website.

3. Can Wisconsin HOAs foreclose on a home because of unpaid assessments?

In Wisconsin, a community association has the power to foreclose on a property within its boundaries. When a homeowner fails to pay their dues, the homeowner's association has the authority to place a lien on the home. If a lien is not addressed, the HOA may foreclose on the property.

Before placing a lien against a property owner's home, however, the association is required to wait a minimum of 60 days after the assessments are due. Thereafter, the claim must be filed with the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the property in question is situated. The judge may then issue a judgment authorizing foreclosure on the outstanding lien.

4. Why is it important to know about Wisconsin statutes?

Compliance with these statutes is critical in order to avoid legal complications and penalties. Second, understanding these laws allows individuals and organizations to make educated decisions, whether regarding property transactions, contracts, or day-to-day operations.

5. Is it mandatory to join a homeowners association in Wisconsin?

There are no state laws that specify whether HOA membership is mandatory. However, each association will decide whether this is essential and include provisions in their governing documents. Therefore, they may be voluntary or mandatory HOAs.

If a homeowner moves to a neighborhood that is maintained by a mandatory homeowners association, he or she will be required to join.

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David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!