Connecticut Trust For Historic Preservation

CTHP Easements Program

How can you be sure your historic property's next owners will preserve it as faithfully as you have? One way is to place a preservationeasement on the property with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation.

What is a preservation easement? A preservation easement is a legal agreement that grants a limited right to a qualified nonprofit organization, like the Connecticut Trust, to protect the property from changes which are not in keeping with its historic, architectural, or natural character. The agreement can be very flexible to fit the particular situation. By granting an easement, the property owner does not give up title, use or control of the property or the right to sell, donate or will the property. The easement is usually givenin perpetuity, meaning that it also binds future owners.

Why the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation? The Connecticut Trust is a nonprofit, member-supported organization, one of the foremost statewide preservation organizations in the country. The Trust has operated a preservation easement program for more than twenty years and now holds easements on some twent-five properties, including an office building in New Haven (the former headquartersof the Southern New England Telephone Company), condominium complexes in Norwich and New Milford, a number of single-family houses, and open land that provides historic settings for early farmhouses in Ledyard and Ashford. The Trust also provides technical assistance, workshops, conferences, publications andadvocacy in preservation matters and issues.

What properties are eligible for easements? Eligibility is determined by the Trust's staff on acase-by-case basis, but to be considered the property must be listed oreligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

What are the benefits of a preservation easement? The knowledge that your historic property will be protected for generations to come. AND A federal income tax deduction is available to a qualified donor of an easement in an amount equal to the reduction in value of the property resulting from the granting of the easement. In addition, such reduction in market value may reduce estate taxes and local real property taxes. Tax benefits vary according to each donor's situation and therefore you should consult your attorney, accountant or tax advisor.

How do I establish an easement? The Connecticut Trust will provide a draft of an easement agreement for review by your attorney and taxadvisor. The Trust will also supply a written and photographic record of the property. The donor must retain an appraiser to determine the market value of the easement. The Trust can help find a qualified appraiser. 

What are the costs of creating an easement? The donor must pay a modest application fee to the Connecticut Trust as well as the costs of establishing the easement, including fees for attorneys, tax consultants or appraisers. In addition, the donor must make an agreed upon donation to the Trusts monitoring fund to cover the Trusts long-term costs for periodically monitoring the property and forlegal enforcement of the easement, if necessary. All costs are also generally tax deductible.

For more information, please see our guide here: Easements Info. Sheet