I am looking into my first deal and researching a new property. This is a 3 unit property already leased to tenants. I called to the County to check on any building permit history and any rental inspections. To my surprise, I was told that building permits are not required for properties in unincorporated villages and that rental inspections are not required. Does this sound right? I live in Minnesota and now way would this fly but just learning about Wisconsin.
A few municipalities in the state have their own rental inspection requirements but the state of WI as a whole got rid of the rental weatherization stipulation over a year ago. Yay! It's very expensive and cumbersome to run these building inspections so you'll find most of the areas free to reign. However, permits are still required in most of the state if you're doing work to the property. Always check with the local building inspector in each separate municipality.
Welcome to BP - I see this is your first post. Rental licenses and building permits vary quite a bit by locality. There are many cities in MN that do not require rental licenses and cities have varying regulations on building permits. For example in the city I live there are no rental licenses, electrical permits are through the state, and the city requires permits for plumbing and structural building changes. Other cities you have to pull a permit for most everything so it isn't surprising that an unincorporated city doesn't require them. Remember - it takes staff to administer them, the smaller cities have less resources.
It is common in rural areas, many townships have decided to not require permits for repairs, most will require permits for new construction, and additions, or changing window/door openings, or roof lines, I did a rehab in Merrill WI , we replaced windows, roof, siding, flooring and much more, I called the city, they asked if i was changing openings or roof lines, and since I was not, he said no permit required. Regarding inspections, there was a law change at the state level limiting inspections by municipalities. so yea this is pretty normal.
@Mike Cincotta Believe it or not, there are many jurisdictions in the U. S. that do not feel the need to regulate every aspect of your life.
Check with the village or municipality, I found it varies and also whether you are owner occupant or not. In City of Milwaukee, if you are buying a property registered on the vacant property list, in order to be removed, an inspection is required.