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General Interest Question: Legislation and Timeshares

crashemt

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Hey all-

I'm new here, but I've watched and had a timeshare since 2008. I'm impressed with this community, and it's honesty.

I was curious if there was any push as a group to look at legislation that would make our lives easier, and our timeshares somewhat closer to the investments we were promised. I have been collecting data where I am affected, and I see a lot of questionable actions. For example:
  • Properties collecting more in taxes and fees than they list in their budgets
  • Properties forbidding sales and rental outright, forcing owners in foreclosure to rid the property, which the developer then resells at full asking price (yes, I have evidence)
  • Properties in Florida selling their rooms at Conference rates (+$200/night), which never makes it's way back in to the maintenance and budget planning books (again, I have the evidence)
Not to mention all the sales tactics, the death by volume of documents and short recision windows, etc.

We all know ARDA is only for the developers and Property Managers. Of course, we pay for their lobbying on their behalf. That's a strange mix, isn't it?

Has anyone seen an organization working on our behalf in law, to get effective changes put in at the State and Federal levels that would eliminate these bad practices? Is that something, if created, would be of value to TUG members?
 

VegasBella

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I have a few random thoughts:

- TUG is very non political.
- Many of us here on TUG bought resale and haven't really been all that 'harmed' by the industry.
- We don't always agree. For instance there is often debate here on TUG about whether or not these things are ethical: ROFR, Viking Ships, refusing to pay MF even if you can afford it, breaking occupancy policies and laws, etc.
- There are certainly some TUGgers who may benefit from some of the inequality that exists.

I would be curious about the type of organization you describe but I'm not sure I'd be interested enough in it to participate.
 

crashemt

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I have a few random thoughts:

- TUG is very non political.
- Many of us here on TUG bought resale and haven't really been all that 'harmed' by the industry.
- We don't always agree. For instance there is often debate here on TUG about whether or not these things are ethical: ROFR, Viking Ships, refusing to pay MF even if you can afford it, breaking occupancy policies and laws, etc.
- There are certainly some TUGgers who may benefit from some of the inequality that exists.

I would be curious about the type of organization you describe but I'm not sure I'd be interested enough in it to participate.

I agree. I certainly do not want this to be political, or partisan.

There are always those that benefit from inequity. The playing field is heavily skewed. I just want to make it more level.
 

Talent312

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It's not that the issue is political / Wanting to be treated fairly is not very.
Rather, it's that organizing TS owners would be like herding cats.
We all have our own lives and as long as it's not our ox being gored...
Not my problem.

.
 

LannyPC

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Has anyone seen an organization working on our behalf in law, to get effective changes put in at the State and Federal levels that would eliminate these bad practices?

The ROC part of the ARDA-ROC claims to be working in behalf of owners. ROC is short for Resort Owners Coalition. How effective it is or can be in accomplishing what you are hoping for remains to be seen.
 
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vacationtime1

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I don't view this as a political issue -- unless you think HOA fraud is political.

If an HOA rents out units that belong to the HOA, don't the profits belong to the HOA? If an HOA overbills us for taxes, that's fraud.

I would want to know if my HOA were doing any of these things, even if my only remedy as a practical matter would be to sell the unit and buy elsewhere (or not buy anywhere).

We have no issue slamming Westgate for predatory practices; shouldn't we want to know whether our own HOA's are borrowing any of those tactics?
 

TUGBrian

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the issue is that nearly all the "shady" or unethical practices in place in the timeshare industry are already against one or more laws on the books now (many covered under extremely strict real estate laws in many states)...adding more laws is pointless.

enforcement of existing laws and education of owners is a far better use of time and effort than trying to lobby for more laws unfortunately :(

ARDA collects tens of millions of dollars a year from owners and while ARDAROC may claim to represent owners...they only take up fights that find owners and developers on the same side of the issue.
 

theo

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the issue is that nearly all the "shady" or unethical practices in place in the timeshare industry are already against one or more laws on the books now (many covered under extremely strict real estate laws in many states)...adding more laws is pointless.

enforcement of existing laws and education of owners is a far better use of time and effort than trying to lobby for more laws unfortunately :(

ARDA collects tens of millions of dollars a year from owners and while ARDAROC may claim to represent owners...they only take up fights that find owners and developers on the same side of the issue.

I mostly agree, although I would like to see (currently absent) full written disclosure requirements adopted Federally for all timeshare developer sales.

In an ideal world (in which we obviously do not live), developers would be required by law to overtly disclose in writing the fact that the purchase may well decrease in monetary value by 90% (or more) before the ink on the contract is even dry; it is not an "investment". It should also be required to overtly state in writing that future resale options may be few, difficult and severely limited, at any price (contrary to deceitful sales weasel lies and oral misrepresentations).

It could certainly be legitimately argued that any and every potential buyer should do their own homework and at least some research before signing any timeshare developer contract, but we all know how that's currently (...not) working out.

Having never purchased from a developer, these observations do not reflect any personal anger or regret of my own, but it still seems to me that open, written disclosures might provide more and better protection for "under informed" people making hasty, unwise and expensive developer purchase decisions / mistakes.

All that said, I am not naive; ARDA money and muscle would crush any such efforts or proposed changes before any drafts of legislation were even initiated.
 
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TUGBrian

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and the irony that a huge % of "arda muscle" to battle against things like this...comes from the tens of millions of dollars that owners "donate" to them every year via their maintenance fees.
 
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