Written by attorney Andrew D. Weininger

Wisconsin Landowner Relocation Rights Under Eminent Domain and Condemnation Law

The government (or other acquiring agency) must cover a broad range of relocation expenses for property owners who are relocated as a result of eminent domain or condemnation. However, many landowners are not fully aware of their rights to relocation expenses or how significant these expenses (and compensation for such) can be. Wisconsin Statute section 32.19 defines who eligible to receive relocation compensation. Those entitled to relocation expenses include any lawful business, residential dwelling or farm. Under Wisconsin law you have the right to be relocated to a comparable situation after being relocated. For the purpose of this legal guide, I will focus on relocation expenses recoverable by Wisconsin homeowners.


Under Wisconsin law, the acquiring authority is responsible for compensating a displaced person for the actual and reasonable moving expenses. The Wisconsin Administrative Code sets forth what actual and reasonable moving expenses include.

What qualifies as a relocation moving expense?

  • Transporting a person or personal property from an acquired site to a replacement site
  • Packing, crating, unpacking, and uncrating personal property
  • Disconnecting, dismantling, removing, reassembling, and reinstalling relocated and substitute machinery, equipment, appliances, and other items that condemnor does not acquire, including reconnection of utilities to the items
  • Storing personal property for up to 12 months
  • Advertising and obtaining bids for moving
  • Paying an insurance premium for the replacement value of property lost or damaged while in storage or transit
  • Obtaining necessary business permitting

What does NOT qualify as a relocation moving expense?

  • Moving a structure or property improvement acquired as part of the real property
  • Additional expenses of residing or operating a business or farm operation in a new location
  • Paying interest on a loan for moving expenses
  • Costs associated with searching for a replacement dwelling

REPLACEMENT HOUSING PAYMENT A replacement housing payment consists of three parts:

  1. DIFFERENTIAL PAYMENT- A payment up to $25,000 to cover the difference between the acquisition price of the property owner’s existing property and the cost of acquiring a comparable replacement. 2. REFINANCING PAYMENT- A payment for the loss of favorable financing if the replacement dwelling mortgage has a higher interest rate then the existing mortgage. 3. INCIDENTAL EXPENSES- A payment for the cost incurred in purchasing the replacement dwelling including attorneys fees, commission, discounts, survey, title, and other closing costs.

As you can see, relocation rights for Wisconsin landowners being displaced by eminent domain or condemnation in Wisconsin are broad. Many items are covered, however the actual process of recovering these expenses can be tedious, confusing and time consuming. It is important you consult with an experience eminent domain and condemnation attorney to ensure that you not only receive just compensation for your land, but also all relocation moving expenses you are entitled to.

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