What is a Timeshare?
A timeshare is a form of vacation property ownership that allows the owner a right to a specific amount of time at the owned resort. Otherwise known as fractional ownership, the time allotted to each timeshare owner is typically one week per year. Weeks are also available for purchase, and can be used consecutively or throughout the year. Biennial weeks are also available, and allow owners to visit the destination once every two years. Property owners share the cost of running, maintaining and renovating the resort. These costs are called timeshare maintenance fees.
History of Timeshares
The concept of a timeshare was created in Europe in the early 1960s. As a resort developer in the French Alps, Paul Dourmier had a radical concept that led him to a conclusion, “stop renting a room and buy the hotel.” The prospect of hotel ownership was innovative and would allow vacationers to have a piece of the hotel at a cheaper price than renting a room.
Hapimag, a company in Switzerland, began a shared vacation ownership program in 1963. Their model, similar to Paul Dourmier’s, was to sell “right to use” resort property to vacationers.
Timeshare owners can use their timeshare week, give their timeshare away as a gift, exchange their timeshare internally within the same resort, sell timeshare, or they can rent timeshare as well.With the addition of the points system, owners also have a variety of options which includes the ability to assign their usage time to the point system in exchange for vacation accommodations, rent more points or save them from one year to the next.
In order to continue using the timeshare, timeshare owners typically pay annual timeshare maintenance fees which can also be paid monthly depending on the resort or developer. These timeshare maintenance fees go towards the general upkeep and maintenance of the resort and timeshare units.
The United States is home to more than 1,600 timeshare resorts. Nearly half of all resorts within the U.S. currently sell timeshares. There are millions of timeshare owners, in fact, it is estimated that roughly 4.4 million households in America own one or more timeshare. Interval International, one of the two leading worldwide exchange companies, has said, based on 2006 data, that there were 5,400 resorts offering timeshares in nearly 100 countries. Timeshare laws, in accordance with American Resort Developers Association (ARDA), have changed throughout the years, most recently in 2005. Timeshares can also be donated. To donate a timeshare, contact the resort and affiliated charities that accept timeshares.
Timeshares have come under stricter scrutiny in recent years. Timeshares are regulated by state and federal laws, and complaints are registered with the Attorney’s General. Timeshare contracts are so ironclad that it’s often hard to cancel timeshare without dealing with a reliable timeshare transfer company.
Timeshare Exit Solutions
It is fairly easy for anyone to buy a timeshare, but it’s not always as easy to find a way to cancel timeshare contracts. Many timeshare owners experience difficulty trying to sell a timeshare in an overcrowded timeshare resale market. Some timeshare owners try to rent timeshares to help cover their annual timeshare maintenance fees, but their financial obligation to the timeshare remains whether or not they are successful at renting timeshares. Other timeshare owners try to donate timeshares as a way to get rid of timeshare, but not all charities may accept your timeshare donation. The best way to get rid of your timeshares is through a reliable timeshare transfer process.
David MacMillan is the President/Owner of Timeshare Relief, Inc.