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Ownership of Billboards in Wisconsin

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As a large city served by state and interstate highways, Appleton is home to many billboards. Billboards are a great way for business owners, nonprofit organizations, and individuals running for public office to share their views, messages, and services with all who pass by. Billboards are as much a part of the American highway landscape as tractor trailers and rest area signs. If you are a business owner, you might have considered renting or buying a billboard for advertisement purposes.

As outdoor fixed structures, billboards are subject to the laws that govern the land on which they stand. To erect a billboard, you may need to purchase or lease land. This is also true if you opt to purchase or lease a billboard that is currently standing. Determining the ownership of a billboard can be tricky and even if you own both the land and the billboard, you can be subject to land seizure under eminent domain laws. These are all business law issues.

What are my Rights as a Billboard Owner?

As a billboard owner, you have rights. These include the right to lease your billboard as you see fit and the right to require that disputes between you and lessees be resolved in a specific manner. For example, you may require that all disputes be resolved through arbitration or prohibit the advertisement of certain products, such as tobacco or alcohol, on your billboard. As a land lessee yourself, you may be required to comply with terms imposed by the landowner, such as restrictions on the products that can be advertised on the billboard.

If you own the land as well as the billboard, you have the right to receive just compensation if the government takes the land for public use. This compensation can include coverage of your relocation costs.

In either case, you must comply with Wisconsin’s state laws regarding the erection, illumination, and location of billboards.

Resolving a Billboard Ownership Dispute

Billboard ownership disputes are not always simple. There are many different issues that a billboard owner can face, such as:

  • A breach of contract with the landowner;
  • An attempt to seize the land for public use;
  • A dispute with the state government about the visibility of a billboard or whether it violates state laws; and
  • Disputes with landowners regarding the maintenance of a billboard and the land around it.

Often, business disputes are resolved through arbitration. This is a form of alternative dispute resolution. In other cases, they are resolved in court.

Work with an Experienced Appleton Business Lawyer

Billboard ownership disputes fall under the category of business litigation. If you are a billboard owner or a land owner involved in a dispute regarding the ownership or fair use of a billboard, have an experienced business lawyer represent your case to help it reach a favorable settlement. Contact our team of Appleton civil litigation attorneys at Hammett, Bellin & Oswald, LLC today to set up your initial consultation with us.

Get In Touch sidebar with Hammet, Bellin & Oswald, LLC. Attorneys at Law
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