Public Warehouse Keeper

License Application & Information
Surety Bond Form
Liability Policy Insurance Form
Sample Bank Letterhead - Letter of Credit Form

About the Wisconsin Public Warehouse Keeper Program

What is the purpose of the program?

The public warehouse licensing program provides a valuable service to consumers of public warehousing services by obtaining compliance, through regular inspections, with the provisions of state statutes. On-site inspections ensure that the licensed facilities are suitable for the types of goods stored, and help identify facilities operating without a license.


What law does Wisconsin’s Public Warehouse Keeper program enforce?

The program derives its regulatory authority from Chapter 99 of the Wisconsin Statutes. Under the authority of this chapter, the program has promulgated one separate rule, Chapter ATCP 97 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.


What warehouses need a license?

A license is required of a person or a company that stores for hire.


What is meant by "store for hire?"

"Store for hire" means to accept and maintain custody of the property of another person in return for consideration. "Store for hire" does not include the rental of designated storage space to a renter who has access to that space during normal business hours and who is responsible for the safekeeping of property stored in that space. Refers to self storage or mini warehouses - reference Sec. 704.90, Wis. Stats.

Common examples of businesses that are required to be licensed:

  1. A marina that provides boat storage, outdoor or indoor

  2. A furrier or dry cleaner storing clothing in the off season

  3. A farmer with an empty barn or shed offering storage for automobiles, boats, or snowmobiles

  4. A record center storing either paper or tape business records

  5. Food warehouses

  6. Moving and storage companies

  7. Agricultural and commercial products


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Applicable Laws and Codes

Specific

Wisconsin Statutes, Chapter 99 Public Warehouses
Chapter ATCP 97, Public Warehouse Keepers

General

Wis. Stats., Chapter 93 – Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection
Wis. Stats., Chapter 407 Uniform Commercial Code – Document of Title
Wis. Stats., Chapter 704.90 Self-Service Storage facilities
Wis. Stats., Chapter 177.165 Unclaimed Property Act

How to Apply for a License

  1. Fill out the License for Public Warehouse Keeper application.

  2. Measure the square footage used for storage for hire, including any outdoor storage.

  3. Pay fee based on table below.

  4. Send fee to DATCP – PO BOX 93178, Milwaukee WI 53293-0178.

  5. License expires annually on June 30.

  6. License is not transferable from one public warehouse keeper to another.

  7. The fu​ll annual fee is due; part-year adjustments are not allowed.

  8. A surcharge of $100.00 maybe required if you have been operating without a license within one year before submitting the license application.

  9. The classes and fees are as follows:

​​Class

​Squar​​​e F​ootage

​​Annual Fee

I

​LESS THAN - 9,999

$90.00​

​II

​10,000 - 49,999

​$185.00

​III

​50,000 - 99,999

​$300.00

​IV

​100,000 - 149,000

​$400.00

​V

​150,000 - OVER

​$500.00


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Security Requirements for a License

What is the purpose of the security requirement?

The security filed by the applicant secures his faithful performance of all duties and obligations of a public warehouse keeper, and is payable to the department for the benefit of owners of stored property or their assignees.

Security must be filed by every applicant for a public warehouse keeper’s license in any of the following forms:

  1. A continuous surety bond

    1. Made payable to the department for the benefit of the owners of stored property.

    2. Issued by a surety company licensed to do business in the state.

    3. Continuing and cancelled only upon 30 days written notice to the department.

    4. The original or a duplicate original of the bond must be on file with the department.

    5. On a form approved by the department.

  2. A legal liability insurance policy

    1. Payable to the department for the benefit of the owners of stored property.

    2. An original or certified copy of the policy.

    3. May not be terminated without at least 30 days’ written notice.

    4. On a form provided by the department.

  3. Personal surety bond or other third party guarantees that are supported by:

    • Cash

    • Certificate of deposit

    • Bonds

    • Irrevocable bank letter of credit

      • Issued by a financial institution in this state.

      • Issued for a period of at least one year.

      • Made payable to the department for the benefit of the owners of stored property.

      • Written on bank letterhead, containing all the terms and conditions required by the department.

      • Continuing and subject to non-renewal by the issuing bank only upon a 90 days written notice.

  4. If you store wearing apparel exclusively: an original or certified copy of a bailee’s customers’ insurance policy that protects the owners of all store property against loss or damage by fire, wind, water or theft.

    • Policy shall name the department as an additional insured party for the benefit of owners of stored property.

    • In a form acceptable to the department.

    • Insurance policy shall be continuing and subject to cancellation or nonrenewal by the insurer only upon 30 days prior written notice to the department served in person or by certified mail.


What is the minimum amount of security required?

Security filed under this section shall be in a aggregate amount not less than the following:

​​Class

​​Square Footage

​​Minimum Security R​equired

​​I

​LESS THAN - 9,999

​$10,000

​II

​10,000 - 49,999

​$20,000

​III

​50,000 - 99,999

​$30,000

​IV

​100,000 - 149,999

​$40,000

​V

​150,000 - OVER

​$50,000

​​

Release of security

The security shall remain in effect and the department cannot release it until one of the following occurs:

  • A period of 180 days elapses after the warehouse keeper gives notice to the department that the warehouse keeper is no longer in business.

  • A period of 180 days elapses after the warehouse keeper’s license expires or is revoked.

  • The department determines that the warehouse keeper is no longer in business and that all claims of person storing property at the warehouse have been satisfied.

The above forms can be downloaded and forwarded to your insurance agent. Questions can be addressed by email to: Mary Pelton or telephone (608) 224-4933.


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Public Warehouse Keeper’s Duties and Requirements

  1. Facilities shall be suitable for the type of storage operations to be conducted and shall be maintained and operated in a manner that will reasonably protect property to be stored against loss or damage.

  2. Notice of liability limits: customers storing non-commercial personal, family or household goods are to be notified of any limit on the public warehouse keeper’s liability for loss or damage to the property while in storage. The warehouse keeper will also inform the customer of the property owner’s responsibility to provide additional coverage if desired.

  3. Sign posted: every warehouse keeper will have a conspicuous sign posted outside the main entrance to the warehouse.

  4. Receipts: a public warehouse keeper will issue a receipt for all property he receives. The receipt will:

    • Clearly identify the property which has been received.

    • Indicate the location of where the property will be stored.

    • The terms and conditions of storage.

    • The date the receipt is issued.

    • Records are available for inspection by the department, as well as to those parties holding an interest in the stored property.

Does Every Warehouse Need to be Licensed as a Public Warehouse Keeper?

No, a warehouse needs to be licensed if it is operating under the definition of “store for hire,” but not if it is exempt under Chapter ATCP 97.04(2), as follows:

A license is not required if you operate:

  1. A warehouse used only for the storage of the warehouse keeper’s own property.

  2. A grain warehouse licensed under ch. 127, Stats.

  3. A frozen food locker plant.

  4. A cooperative warehouse used to store farm products and merchandise only for cooperative members.

  5. A municipal warehouse.

  6. A dairy plant warehouse used to store the dairy plant’s own products.

  7. A vegetable processor’s warehouse used to store the processor’s own products.

  8. A warehouse operated by a common carrier, if the common carrier transfers and stores property for periods of not more than 30 days.

  9. A warehouse licensed under the United States Warehouse Act.

  10. A “mini-warehouse” or other designated self-store storage space rented to a person who has free access to the storage space and who is responsible for the safekeeping of property stored in that space.

  11. A person who stores property received under a writ of restitution under s. 799.44(2) if that person was the plaintiff in the action that resulted in the issuance of the writ of restitution.

  12. An agricultural society, association, or board that conducts a county or district fair and that receives aid under s. 93.23.

Contact

Trade Practices Section
(608) 224-4925
datcptcppublicwarehousekeeper@wisconsin.gov

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