It’s Just a Primitive Hunting Cabin in the Woods

New law exempts primitive rural hunting cabins from electrical and plumbing code


 Cori Lamont  |    November 09, 2017
Cabin.jpg

The most recent state budget amended and created certain portions of Wis. Stat. Chap. 101 regarding the electrical and plumbing code as it relates to primitive rural hunting cabins. 

Wis. Stat. § 101.61 defines a “primitive rural hunting cabin” as a structure that satisfies all of the following: 

  • The structure is not used as a home or residence.
  • The structure is used principally for recreational hunting activity. 
  • The structure does not exceed 2 stories in height.
  • The structure satisfies any of the following: 
    • The structure was constructed before December 31, 1997.
    • The structure results from alterations made to a structure described in subd. 1.
    • The structure replaces a structure described in subd. 1. 

Further, the law provides that a jurisdiction by local units of government may not be exercised over the construction or inspection of primitive rural hunting cabins, per Wis. Stat. § 101.65(1g), and the rules relating to electrical wiring do not apply to primitive rural hunting cabins, per Wis. Stat. § 101.82(1). 

In order for a cabin to be determined as a primitive rural hunting cabin, it must satisfy all of the items. Therefore, if a consumer is unsure if the cabin falls into the definition of primitive rural hunting cabin, the consumer should consult the local building inspector or an attorney. Real estate licensees should not make any representation if a cabin is required to comply with electrical or plumbing requirements. 

Does the seller of a primitive rural hunting cabin have to complete a real estate condition report (RECR)? 

In Wis. Stat. § 101.61(1), the law specifically states that a primitive rural hunting cabin is not a dwelling or dwelling unit. Therefore, the seller would not be required to complete a RECR. In addition, the seller arguably may not be required to complete a vacant land disclosure report (VLDR) presuming the cabin was considered a building because the VLDR does not have to be used unless there is land with no buildings. The term “building” is not defined in Chapter 709 of the statutes, but in the dictionary, “building” is defined as “a structure that has a roof and walls and stands more or less permanently in one place” or “a usually roofed and walled structure built for permanent use.” 

What forms are to be used when listing or writing an offer on a primitive rural hunting cabin? 

The Department of Safety and Professional Services historically has told real estate licensees to use the form that requires the least amount of modification. It is likely the WB-1 Residential Listing Contract and the WB-11 Residential Offer to Purchase would require the least amount of modification when listing or writing an offer on a primitive rural hunting cabin. 

Evidently, the idea behind the exemption for these types of cabins was meant to provide some leniency for cabins used intermittently for hunting activities and not those used as a home or residence. Some property owners may try to argue their property is a primitive rural hunting cabin because there could be broad interpretation as to what is meant by recreational hunting activity. Obviously, since a good number of items could fall into recreational hunting activity, the property owner or purchaser should consult with someone other than his or her real estate licensee as to whether the cabin is a primitive rural hunting cabin.

Cori Lamont is Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs for the WRA. 

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