Historic Preservation > National Register of Historic Places

Information for Owners

Key Points about the National Register Process for Property Owners

  • Listing in the National Register honors the property by recognizing its importance to its community, State, or the Nation.
  • Many property owners propose National Register nominations.
  • Under Federal law, private property owners can do anything they wish with their National Register-listed property, provided that no Federal license, permit, or funding is involved.
  • Owners have no obligation to open their properties to the public, to restore them, or even to maintain them, if they choose not to do so.
  • To ensure public participation in the nomination process, property owners and local officials are notified of proposed nominations to the National Register and provided the opportunity to comment. In addition, once a nomination is submitted to the National Park Service another public comment period is published in the Federal Register.
  • Private property owners may object to the proposed nomination of their property to the National Register. If a majority of private property owners objects to a nomination, then the property cannot be listed in the National Register.
  • Federal agencies whose projects affect a listed property must give the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation an opportunity to comment on the project and its effects on the property.
  • The powers of the SHPO staff are limited in protecting National Register properties, to reviewing those projects which are funded, wholly or in part, by the federal government and which impact, directly or indirectly, listed or eligible properties. National Register status does not mean that a property cannot be destroyed by a highway, by Urban Renewal, or some other project. It does mean that before a federal agency can be involved in any way with such a project, i.e. by funding, licensing or authorizing it, the federal agency must consider alternatives by which National Register properties might be saved from destruction. After the review process has been completed, the agency may choose to avoid the property, or it may decide to go ahead with the project, even if a National Register property is destroyed in the process.
  • Owners of listed properties may be able to obtain Federal historic preservation funding, when funds are available. In addition, Federal investment tax credits for rehabilitation and other provisions may apply.
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