All Timeshares Are Not Created Equal

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Aaronson Law Group - Timeshare Recession and Cancellation

Timeshare ownership has changed considerably over the years, evolving from a deeded, locked-in time frame at one resort location to points-based travel and vacation clubs with multiple destination options. Each type of timeshare affords significant differences in benefits, financial obligations and legal status. Let’s take a look at two very different types of ownership.

Fractional Timeshare Ownership – A Lifestyle Choice

Definitely the “crème de la crème” of vacation timeshares, fractional ownership usually involves a luxury private home in a world-class location. This kind of timeshare offers the opportunity to purchase partial, deeded ownership of a property that is shared among a few owners. Also referred to as shared property ownership, this elite option tends to hold its value well on the real estate market.

The length of ownership, number of owners, quality of the property and pricing/fees are the primary differences between traditional and fractional ownership timeshares. Fractional ownership interests normally range from $50,000 to over $1 million and typically divide ownership in four, eight or thirteen parts, allowing each owner an equal amount of time annually – from 5 to 10 weeks. Fractional owners have more latitude in choosing when they want to use the home, and some offer the potential for exchanges. Generally, a management company handles the sale of shares, scheduling of owners’ usage and operating expenses. The latter can include budget development, tax collection, bill payment and tax preparation.

While even Forbes magazine presented fractional ownership in “How to Live the Good Life for Less,” this type of timeshare still reflects some of the problems of traditional timeshares. Other owners share the property, sleep in the beds and use all of the facilities and amenities; and owners cannot make changes or redecorate. High-end Ritz properties in New York and Colorado face lawsuits from fractional owners who feel their property has been de-valued by new agreements allowing Marriott points-based owners to use the properties. That is precisely the kind of change that can dilute property values and diminish exclusivity.

Points-Based Vacation Clubs

One of the dominant types of timeshares today, traditional points systems assign a specific number of points ‘value’ based on unit location, size, time of year, etc. Luxury vacation clubs frequently are aligned with specific resort brands, such as Disney Vacation Club®, Hyatt, Hilton and other well-known hoteliers and resorts. The flexible club timeshares vary widely in their points-based pricing, and the number of points owned governs when, where and for how long the owner can visit a resort. Individuals purchase the Right-to-Use (RTU) a particular unit size annually but usually have no ownership interest in the real estate.

Many of our clients have problems with escalating maintenance fees, special assessments and ever-changing points values at resorts. While timeshare ownership might have served their needs in the past, either the rising costs or changing family priorities drive their desire to sell or cancel their timeshare. Unfortunately, that is when they discover the diminished value of their timeshare and the seemingly impossible task of exiting their contract.

YOUR LEGAL PROBLEMS ARE NOT INSURMOUNTABLE!

Our attorneys at Aaronson Law Firm have assisted many clients who acted in good faith in purchasing their timeshares but find themselves with mounting assessments and “no way out.” Chances are good that your timeshare developer is legally exposed in relatively straightforward and provable ways. With over 80 years of combined legal experience, our competent counsel is here to help you and is willing to sue, if necessary, in the interest of getting your timeshare cancelled. Contact us today for your free consultation.