A Simple Guide To Timeshare Maintenance Fees | Timeshare.Lawyer
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For anyone with a timeshare, the annual dread of timeshare maintenance fees is an all-too-familiar feeling. If you don’t understand what they are, why you have to pay them, or have any other questions regarding timeshare maintenance fees, then this article should help to answer them.

If, after reading our explanations, anything is still unclear or you think you need further advice or guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. As always, we are happy to help, regardless of what your timeshare problem may be.

What Are Timeshare Maintenance Fees?

In a nutshell, maintenance fees are collected by the timeshare company to maintain the resort property, pay insurance, utilities, purchase appliances and furniture, refurbishing the property, and various taxes.

Maintenance fees vary from the resorts on offer, they will also differ depending on the type and size of the property that has been purchased.

Resort developers may temporarily subsidise these maintenance fees as an extra incentive to promote buyers to act quickly. This normally occurs during an active sales period.

If, however, you are wondering how the maintenance fees can be so high, or be increasing so dramatically year on year, a little investigation is in order. We always recommend to anybody considering a timeshare to go through the maths thoroughly before committing, and to understand clearly exactly what you’re signing up for. We are nonetheless aware that this is easier said than done, especially if you’re under pressure to sign by tricky salespeople.

We often hear from people who are shocked by the increase in maintenance fees from one year to the next. Unfortunately, in most cases the prospect of percentage increases is detailed within the contract, and it’s something the customer should be aware of having read and signed the contract. But if the percentage increase exceeds that set out in your contract, you should take action.

Do My Timeshare Maintenance Fees Depend On My Week?

All other timeshare holders of your unit pay the same fee, and together these are pooled in order to cover those costs. Regardless of what season your timeshare week is in, your maintenance costs will be the same as everybody else’s.

Why do my maintenance fees keep increasing?

Timeshare maintenance fees can rise dramatically from one year to the next, which can be a source of financial stress. Most people, when taking out a timeshare contract, would have done their calculations to make sure that annual maintenance fees are affordable within their budget. When maintenance fees rise, however, this can throw the budget out, creating affordability issues that can become incredibly difficult to overcome.

That said, your resort does need to charge maintenance fees. They exist to cover the cost of the resort’s upkeep and other outgoing costs of keeping the resort going. Without your maintenance fees, the resort would fall into disrepair and may even go bankrupt. The problem arises when the annual increase exceeds the rate of inflation and/or seems to include some dubious entities.

It’s worth noting that the maintenance fee clause in a timeshare agreement is in the small print, if you’ve missed this part, you should know that you have probably agreed to the timeshare company/resort’s right to change the maintenance fees, usually without notice.

It has been calculated that timeshare maintenance fees tend to double every decade. For example, if your maintenance fees were £300 per annum in 2006, they are likely to be around £600 per annum in 2016. The maintenance fees over a long term contract (legally up to 50 years in duration) can escalate to a staggering amount of money.

Another thing that’s worth keeping in mind with regards to maintenance fees is special assessment fees. These are added on top of maintenance fees to cover unexpected expenses. For example, a resort in North America or the Caribbean may experience a severe storm damage during hurricane season that is not completely covered by insurance. Special assessment fees, therefore can also include one-time expenses such as a major improvement (e.g. new outdoor facilities). Even if you do not intend to use that specific facility, you will be responsible for paying the special assessment fee.

If you’re a timeshare owner and have concerns about rising maintenance costs or feel like you’ve been overcharged on a specific maintenance fee please do not hesitate to get in touch

What If I Don’t Trust The Timeshare Maintenance Fees I Am Charged?

If you think that something is awry, don’t just shrug it off. You are perfectly within your rights to ask for a breakdown of how your timeshare maintenance fees are spent. Hopefully, such a breakdown will be forthcoming, and you can judge for yourself the veracity of the charges. You can also ask for a copy of the accounts, so you can check these off against the breakdown you have received.

A problem might occur if the timeshare company or resort refuses to give you the information you have requested. Such a situation, of course, leads to suspicion, and where you are suspicious, you must investigate further. Remember, you are legally entitled to this information, so if it is not forthcoming, this could be a legal matter.

From the outset, put everything in writing. Your initial request for the information, and all subsequent requests, should be by letter or email, accurately signed and dated. This will provide evidence should the matter escalate. If you need to write subsequent letters asking for the information again, do politely remind them that you are exercising your legal entitlement to transparency on how your money is spent.

I Am Dissatisfied With My Timeshare

In the event that you are dissatisfied with the quality of your timeshare, then there are a few actions you can take.

You could take a preemptive approach from the outset. Every year, regardless of the condition of your timeshare unit and resort, be sure to take a number of photos, good and bad, and file them in an organised manner.

You can refer to these in future to ascertain whether the property has been kept in a good state of repair from one year to the next, and – equally – you can compare this with the timeshare maintenance fees for each year.

Yes, doing this does involve being a bit of a nitpicker, but when you’re spending good money, you should pay close attention to ensuring you get good value for that money.

If you are just beginning to notice problems with your timeshare after the first year, keep a good record and take photos and videos wherever possible. If the problem turns into a full-blown court case, you need as much solid ammunition as you can get.

As above, compare the physical appearance and condition of your timeshare unit and resort against the breakdown of charges, and the accounts to which they refer. Any discrepancies will aid your case should things end up going further.

Keep Calm and Carry On

In most cases, you will have little problem acquiring the information you need to understand the timeshare maintenance fees you have been charged. Where disputes occur, in our experience these are usually settled with little fuss, out of court. Nonetheless, it is always best to be as thorough as possible.

That being said, it is vital to note that you must at all times remain reasonable, calm, and polite, regardless of the situation. If you wish to be treated fairly, as is your right, you stand a much better chance if you deal with the matter maturely and calmly. Harsh words and threats will not help you here, it is your documentary records that will help.

What Should I Do If I Cannot Afford To Pay?

When you rent a property, for example, you are obliged to pay rent. You are contractually obliged to do so. The same goes for your timeshare. So if you simply stop paying your maintenance, you will accrue debt and will find yourself subject to collection efforts, missed payment charges, and interest. Stopping payment is therefore an absolute last resort. Your best option is to pay the maintenance fee before speaking to a timeshare legal expert and ascertaining your best route out of the unaffordable contract.

If there is simply no money available for you to pay with, you may consider writing to your resort enclosing a breakdown of your income and outgoings to prove the lack of funds. It’s not guaranteed to put them off, but it may buy you some time to get your money in order. If your timeshare is paid for through a finance company, you may or may not have to write to them instead. If you are able to offer a partial payment, this is certainly better than nothing and shows willing, at least.

If, however, you are convinced of wrongdoing by the resort then holding back on payment while you speak to an expert about your case may be a better avenue for you. Just don’t leave your payment too long. Ascertain whether you have a case before deciding to withhold payment entirely.

The key is to know what your rights are, and act accordingly.

I Think I Should Refuse To Pay

If you have an equity based timeshare, in which you have the right to a week in a particular month of the year, for example, you have the right to occupy the timeshare unit. The majority of these leases operate in the same way that leaseholders have to their landlord. With regards to timeshare, timeshare owners generally do not pay rent under the terms of the timeshare contract itself. However, they are obliged to abide by the terms of the timeshare contract.

If you are presented with a bill telling you that you have outstanding fees that you dispute, it is imperative to ask for detailed information on how this amount of debt was accumulated. Do not pay without clarifying the details.

It’s worth noting that maintenance fees usually continue to mount up over time and the recovery procedures may also escalate, the ramifications can lead to a damaging credit rating as well as a visit from debt collectors.

Therefore, if you are unable or refuse to pay your timeshare maintenance fees, or simply want to exit your timeshare, it’s worth bearing in mind that the sooner you start the process, the sooner you will have peace of mind, so please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Can Timeshare Maintenance Fees Be Tax Deductible?

If you have rented out your timeshare week in exchange for money, you may be wondering if that income can be written off your tax bill. It’s an interesting question, but it’s one that has been posed to us recently, so we thought it a good idea to give you an answer.

The short answer is that, yes, you will be required to declare the income on your tax return if you profited from renting out your timeshare week. Even if the sum you earned only covered your maintenance payments, it is still income you received during the tax year that is subject to taxation.

The only circumstance in which a timeshare property may possibly be tax deductible would be if it could be considered a work-related resource. This could include using it as a work office for whatever reason (perhaps if you are a writer and use the week for uninterrupted writing?) or similar. It’s highly unlikely, however, that most people would be able to legitimately claim on these grounds.

Of course, a lot depends on your circumstances, such as your income and so on, as to whether you’ll actually be taxed on your timeshare at all. It’s worth clarifying with your accountant where you stand if you think your case could be exceptional.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding timeshare maintenance fees, please do get in touch. A member of our friendly team will talk you through, offer advice and guide you on your way, always leaving you free to choose the right decision for you. You can also request a brochure which details our wide range of services.