Historic Preservation Easements
A historic preservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement, typically in the form of a deed, specifically drafted to ensure that the historic character of a site or structure will be preserved in perpetuity. Easements may also provide the property owner, or easement donor, tax benefits or flexibility with land development regulations.
Responsibilities and Authority of Easement Managing Organizations
A historic preservation easement gives the organization to which it is conveyed the legal authority and responsibility to enforce its terms. This includes the right to inspect the property to ensure that the owner is complying with the terms of the easement contract.
Under the terms of a typical historic preservation easement, a property owner (easement donor) places restrictions on the development of, or changes to, the property and transfers these restrictions to a qualified preservation organization (easement holder) who then assumes certain rights and responsibilities associated with perpetual protection. The easement does not prevent future sales, leases, or estate planning, and the owner remains responsible for maintenance and taxes.
Reasons to donate a historic preservation easement to the Teton Trust for Historic Places
A historic preservation easement is a particularly useful and flexible tool:
- It allows a property owner to retain private ownership of the property while ensuring that the historic character of the property will be preserved.
- If certain criteria are met, the owner may be eligible for a federal income tax deduction for the value of the easement. Federal estate taxes also may be reduced.
- In Teton County land development opportunities, like the transfer of development rights (TDRs) as well as flexibility with LDR regulations may be available.
- Easements reduce the amount of demolition material transported and buried in a landfill. This disposal is typically measured in thousands of tons.
- Historic easements sustain meaningful places, local character as well as connection and commitment to our community.
- Historic preservation easements contribute to a strong economy. In a study conducted in Colorado, researchers found that every $1 million spent on historic preservation in that state leads to $1.03 million in additional spending, 14 new jobs, and $636,700 in increased household incomes across the state.
Federal Tax Benefits
Owners whose properties are listed on or determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places are also eligible for Federal tax credits to offset the cost of maintenance. Under the Federal tax credit program, income-producing properties are eligible to receive a full 20% of the cost of certified rehabilitation expenditures in federal tax credits.