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What Does "Listing a Property" Mean?

For more information contact:

Michael Houser
State Architectural Historian
(360) 890-2634

Listing a property on the National Register of Historic Places or being determined eligible for listing does not automatically preserve a building, and it does not keep a building from being modified or destroyed.

National Register Listing Does:

  • Provides recognition of a property’s significance in history, architecture, engineering, or archaeology
  • Provides a tool for local planning, heritage tourism, and heritage education.
  • Provides some protection in the form of consideration and mitigation of adverse effects to historic properties from federally-funded, permited or licensed projects (Section 106 NHPA)
  • Provides the owner of an income-producing property (commercial, industrial, or rental residential) the opportunity to receive federal investment tax credits of up to 20% of costs for a certified rehabilitation
  • Provides the owner the opportunity to apply for matching grant-in-aid funds for restoration, when such funds are available from a variety of organizations
  • Allows the owner to receive free technical assistance from Department of Archaeology & HIstoric Preservation staff on following the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation for maintenance and rehabilitation or restoration of the historic property

National Register Listing Does Not:

  • Does not place restrictions on a private property owner regarding use, maintenance, or alterations to a property
  • Does not require a city/county to restrict the use of a private property, although local ordinances may require architectural review or review of the property by a local historic preservation commission if they add those resources to their local register as well
  • Does not require Federal or State review of proposed alterations to a property unless the project has a Federal nexus (money, grant, permit, license) which could effect listed or eligible resources.  Owners interested in technical assistance with rehabilitation should contact the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation
  • Does not mean the Federal or State government will seek to purchase or place restrictions on private property
  • Does not affect the use or sale of private property
  • Does not require that the building/structure be returned to its historic state as the result of loss or damage for insurance purposes.
  • Does not require an owner to allow public access to private property
  • Encourages, but does not require, continual maintenance of the private property
  • Does not require any government/or private entity to maintain a property, nor does it automatically provide funds for restoration and preservation
  • Does not provide an historical marker for the property, although owners are eligible to purchase one through private vendors