Beyond outright property ownership, historic preservation easements represent
the most powerful tool for protecting the architectural character of historic structures.
Easements are binding legal agreements that can provide permanent protection of historic
structures’ exteriors, interiors, and surrounding land areas. Historic property owners
often voluntarily give easement rights to a preservation organization who is then
obligated to enforce the terms of the agreement and thereby preserve the historic
structure. In return, property owners often get a charitable tax deduction based on the
amount the easement decreases their property’s value. Despite the strong potential of
easements to achieve substantive preservation, their use and general knowledge about
them is not nearly as widesphistoric district ordinances).