When you purchased your timeshare unit, you were sold on the idea of affordable vacations. However, in addition to paying the timeshare’s high-interest mortgage and surprise special assessments, you’re also saddled with annual maintenance fees that continue to increase every year. Even after you pay off the mortgage on your timeshare, you’re still obligated to pay the hefty maintenance fees, which currently average about $1,000 a year. On average, these non-negotiable fees increase 4-8% every year, which makes timeshare ownership quite the expensive endeavor.
Here, in this comprehensive guide to timeshare maintenance fees, you’ll get an understanding of what exactly maintenance fees pay for and how much they cost each year. You’ll also learn about the consequences if you don’t pay these fees and how you can legally get out of timeshare contracts so you no longer are burdened by the escalating maintenance fees.
Much like residential homeowners pay HOA dues, timeshare owners are required to pay maintenance fees. Generally, these fees cover resort costs that are shared by owners, such as building repairs and upgrades, property landscaping and administrative staff. Maintenance fees are charged on top of other timeshare ownership costs, including your mortgage or special assessments. Even after you’ve paid off your timeshare’s mortgage, you’ll need to continue paying maintenance fees, and these are costs that tend to escalate (sometimes to the tune of 8%) every year. It’s also worth noting that these fees come due every year, regardless of whether you’ve vacationed at the resort or not.
Maintenance fees are an umbrella term for the various resort upkeep costs. Much like you need to do maintenance projects around your home or take your car in for oil changes and inspections, resorts need to do maintenance and invest in their grounds, buildings and amenities. Depending on the resort, timeshare owners may be billed on an annual basis or be required to pay the fees quarterly or monthly. The management company should give you a breakdown of how your maintenance fees are being spent. Here are some common costs:
Your fees pay for common landscaping and beautification costs, which could include everything from mowing the grass and trimming edges, to planting trees and flowers, to raking up seaweed on the beach. Sprinkler systems that keep the grounds lush may also be lumped into this fee.
Resorts have lots of expensive, shared amenities, including pools, gyms, golf courses and events spaces. Your maintenance fees help cover maintenance and upgrades on these amenities, including things like regular pool cleaning, replacing creaky old treadmills, watering and landscaping the golf course and so on.
Upgrades and maintenance to your individual unit may also drive up your maintenance fees. This could include things like new beds, upgraded appliances, replacing outdated furniture, and adding new air conditioning units or lighting fixtures.
Timeshare management companies run the resort, helping to oversee property maintenance and resort operations on a day-to-day basis. In addition to helping pay for the management company, you may also be paying for resort security in your maintenance fees.
A variety of costs fall into this category, including record keeping and administrative costs.
Your share of property insurance can be lumped into your maintenance fees.
Water, electricity, trash service and other utilities are commonly included in timeshare maintenance fees.
Several factors can affect how much timeshare owners pay each year in maintenance fees. But on average, maintenance fees cost each timeshare owner $1,000 a year, with an average increase of 4-8% annually. On the conservative end, if your maintenance fees go up by 4% every year, your annual maintenance fees could climb up to $1,480 by 2028. Your maintenance fees are non-negotiable.
Several factors can influence how much you pay in timeshare maintenance fees, ranging from how many bedrooms your timeshare unit has to whether you’re in a location that’s prone to natural disasters and thus needs a significant emergency repair fund. Maintenance fees are often glossed over during timeshare sales pitches. In fact, they may be subsidized by the resort or developer in the initial year to get you to ink the contract. Here’s a look at some of the factors that can drive up costs.
One of the largest factors influencing how much you’ll pay in maintenance fees is the size of your unit. Not surprisingly, the bigger the unit, the more you’ll fork over in fees. Maintenance fees range from $640 a year for studios to $1,290 for units with three or more bedrooms, according to the American Resort Development Association.
How much you pay in maintenance fees is determined, in part, by the resort where you own. If you purchased a timeshare at an older resort, that could mean upgrades and renovations are in the plans, which could drive up your maintenance fees. Before signing a timeshare contract, you could inquire about the renovation schedule and how it will impact your maintenance fees.
If your timeshare is in a region that’s prone to natural disasters (such as tropical storms or hurricanes), the management company may want to build up the reserve budget to help cover any damages. That can translate to higher maintenance fees, but should help prevent special assessments that would otherwise be charged to cover repairs.
More resort amenities (things like a pool, tennis courts, golf course, gym, hot tubs, event spaces) typically translate to higher maintenance costs. Your maintenance fees cover the costs to keep these shared amenities up-to-date.
On average, your timeshare maintenance fees will increase 4-8% every year. But what’s driving this increase?
One factor contributing to increased maintenance fees is that other timeshare owners within the resort default on their payments. In turn, the management company relies on the remaining timeshare owners to absorb the costs.
Another reason for increasing maintenance costs could be damage sustained to your timeshare property. If a disaster strikes the resort, you’ll need to help build up the repair fund.
Additionally, resorts need to continually update their amenities, whether that’s landscaping upgrades, buying new equipment for the gym, or resurfacing the pool deck. The maintenance fees you pay help fund these projects.
Most timeshare contracts contain a perpetuity clause which states that you are responsible for all fees associated with your property for the rest of your life, which includes your annual maintenance fees. As a result, you are legally required to pay your maintenance fees, even if you don’t use the timeshare for some years. You are likely to face a variety of negative consequences if you stop paying your maintenance fees, which range from revocation of privileges to fees and penalties to possible foreclosure on your timeshare and hits to your credit score.
If you don’t pay your maintenance fees, you may not be able to book your allotted week and your reservation could be rejected. This would also prevent you from allowing a friend or family member to use your timeshare during your allotted week. Depending on how far behind you are on your maintenance fees, you won’t be able to process any exchanges, like rolling over an unused week to a future year.
The resort will likely charge you late fees and other penalties when you fall behind on maintenance fees. These can add up over time, making your maintenance fees an even bigger financial burden. They may also charge interest on your overdue maintenance fees.
Eventually, the timeshare developer will enlist a collection agency to try and recover your unpaid maintenance fees. This can result in repeated phone calls, letters and other actions from the collection agency. In addition, it’s possible that you’ll face the following legal actions:
The most devastating consequence is a potential foreclosure on your timeshare property and a big hit to your credit score. If the resort forecloses on your timeshare, the foreclosure will stay on your credit report for seven years. A foreclosure could sink your credit score by 100 points or more, according to FICO. This can make it difficult for you to secure a home mortgage or car loan. In addition, it may result in significantly higher interest rates on credit cards and other loans.
If the costs associated with your timeshare have risen to the point where you can no longer afford them—or you want to avoid it getting to that point—you have options. The best solution is to legally cancel your timeshare. At Timeshare Termination Team, our team of Expert Advisors and our in-house legal team have helped hundreds of families just like you break free of the financial burdens associated with timeshare ownership.
We understand that every timeshare contract is unique and as a result, there can’t be a “one size fits all” approach to getting out of your timeshare. Our Expert Advisors and in-house legal team will design a customized exit strategy that legally, safely and permanently cancels your timeshare. We aim to provide the safest, most trusted timeshare termination experience, and our team will carefully examine your circumstances and the terms of your agreement in order to recommend the right plan for your unique situation.
Timeshare Termination Team offers an exclusive You First Approach™ focused on prioritizing your needs every step of the way. We’ll work closely with you to educate you on your options and once we decide on the proper strategy, our team will handle all communications with the resort on your behalf.
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