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Preservation Easements

Historic Preservation Easement

A preservation easement is a legal instrument between a home or business owner and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network that establishes perpetual protection for the property, by preventing inappropriate changes from being made to the historically significant structure. An easement gives the MHPN the ability to work with current and future owners of a historic property to safeguard its historic character, architecture, materials, and significance. Owners of an easement property are legally obligated to honor the terms of the easement, but retain actual ownership of the property. Easement donors make a gift to current and future generations when they voluntarily place perpetual restrictions on their historic property.

Qualified Properties

Properties eligible for easement donation include agricultural, industrial, commercial, or residential structures and historically important acreage. In addition, properties must meet one of the following requirements: Listed individually on the National Register of Historic Places, or Potential National Register Properties. Buildings, structures, or sites considered eligible for the National Register, or Located within a National Register Historic District and certified by the Secretary of the Interior as a contributing element of that district or deemed to constitute an “historically important land area”, or Other properties. Other buildings, structures, or sites can be considered for easement donations if considered to be of local architectural or historical significance.


In addition to safeguarding an historic property in perpetuity, a preservation easement may entitle a property owner to various tax incentives. When an owner donates an easement to a non-profit organization, such as MHPN, they can claim a charitable deduction on their Federal income tax. Typically, a donor may deduct the value of the easement, for up to thirty-percent of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income, with any excess value carried forward for up to five years. In addition, a donor may choose to combine the deduction with either the 20% or 10% tax credit under the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentives Program. The State of Michigan offers additional tax incentives, as well. Today, more than ever, effective tools such as preservation easements are an essential force in securing our architectural and historic heritage. These resources create a sense of place in our communities, and preserve their character for future generations to enjoy.

MHPN Easements Brochure

For additional information please contact Michigan Historic Preservation Network Executive Director, Nancy Finegood at (517) 371-8080 or email