Taxation FAQ 5

Does a city or village have the authority to attach a tax lien against the property of a mobile home park owner for unpaid utility bills of a mobile home park tenant?

No. The statutory provisions authorizing property tax liens for unpaid utility charges and special charges for current services exclude such action against the property of a mobile home park owner.

Section 66.0809(3) of the Wisconsin Statutes authorizes the placement of delinquent utility charges as a tax against the lots or parcels of real estate to which utility service was provided. However, that section further provides that "if an arrearage is for utility service furnished and metered by the utility directly to a mobile home unit in a licensed mobile home park, the notice shall be given to the owner of the mobile home unit and the delinquent amount becomes a lien on the mobile home unit rather than a lien on the parcel of real estate on which the mobile home unit is located." Consequently, unpaid utility charges for a mobile home cannot be imposed as a tax against the property of a mobile home park owner.

There is also no authority for attaching utility arrearages as a lien on property by way of a special charge under section 66.0627 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Section 66.0627(5) provides that "[e]xcept with respect to storm water management, including construction of storm water management facilities, no special charge may be imposed under this section to collect arrearages owed a municipal public utility." Thus, a special charge cannot be imposed against a mobile home park owner's property for a tenant's unpaid utility bills.