The world renowned architecture throughout the County and cities of Sarasota, Florida - from the romance of the Ringling Estate to the midcentury Sarasota School, the graceful work of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, to the quirky road side motels - needs to be preserved and celebrated. 

Whether you own an elaborate Mediterranean Revival on the Bay, a human-scale commercial building downtown, or a small vernacular cottage nestled among grand oaks, each is vulnerable to up-zoning and developmental pressures.

 A preservation easement permanently ensures the survival of our historic architecture and your legacy.

What is a preservation easement?

A preservation easement, sometimes called a conservation easement, is a voluntary, uniquely customized legal agreement that protects the significant architectural features of a historic property, while allowing you, the owner, to continue to occupy and use the building as you are accustomed. Once recorded, an easement becomes part  of the property's chain of title forever, thus limiting future owners from demolishing or inappropriately altering the building, and ensuring that your historic property will enrich the lives of future generations.

For more information, contact:        Erin DiFazio, Program Director


Benefits of a preservation easement:

  • An easement is the only legally enforceable method of protecting your historic property forever.
  • The property remains in the ownership of the donor to use, sell, or pass on to heirs. Subsequent owners will be required to honor the terms of the easement.
  • Sharing the responsibility for the stewardship of a historic property with SAHP provides  access to professional historic building and design expertise for repair advice and assistance in navigating rehabilitation projects.

    In addition to the security of knowing that their properties will benefit from responsible stewardship for generations to come, many donors of preservation easements realize significant tax savings:

    • Property taxes may be reduced;
    • Certain costs associated with granting an easement may be tax deductible;
    • Federal estate tax savings, increasing the ability for children to hold on to a family property;
    • Potential Federal income tax deduction.

What properties qualify for a preservation easement?

Commercial or residential properties that are:
  • Listed or deemed eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places
  • Identified as a contributing property to a National Historic District
  • Identified as an important historic or cultural resource at the local or state level

The Bottom Line:

While we work to educate real estate professionals about the positive impact of preservation easements, many may still be unfamiliar with this important tool. Though not widely utilized in Florida yet, preservation easements are more common in other states. They have been shown to hone the value of a property when it reaches the market rather than acting as an impediment. Flippers and tire-kickers are weeded out, allowing the preservation minded buyers to step up. In this way, sellers experiences are similar to that of locally designated properties.

How does a preservation easement 

impact a property?

  • Active use is essential to a historic building's survival, and sometimes this necessitates changes to maintain a functional space. A typical preservation easement won't restrict your ability to update kitchens, baths, electric, plumbing and HVAC systems as long as the significant historic features are not eliminated.
  • Along with a responsibility to maintain the property in good condition,  an annual monitoring visit will be scheduled with Program staff.
  • Outside of routine maintenance, any projects that would alter the exterior protected features of a property will be reviewed and approved by the SAHP. Easements can be specifically tailored to allow for appropriate additions and changes in use.


The Sarasota Preservation Program of the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation provides the financial and strategic tools to protect the unique architectural legacy of Sarasota County.

Contact Program Director Erin DiFazio to start a conversation.