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Is a Timeshare really a Real estate?

khana1954

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Just like many others we own a Timeshare (overseas) which we visited 3 times- haven’t been there in the last 10 years. The timeshare is paid off and all we have done for the last 10 years is paid our Maintenance Fees.
I decided ‘enough is enough’!
A Timeshare is ‘supposedly’ considered under Law as Real estate.
By definition:
Real estate is "Property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals, or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this; (also) an item of real property; (more generally) buildings or housing in general. Also: the business of real estate; the profession of buying, selling, or renting land, buildings, or housing."
Source: Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia
We own Real estate and after we paid off our Mortgage we actually got the Title transferred from the Bank into our Name. Now that is what I call owning Real estate.
Owning a Timeshare = Owning Real estate? I don’t think so.
A Time share is nothing more than a ‘Right-to usage’ agreement – unless you folks have a Title making you a Part-Owner of your Timeshare. I have never seen any documents from our Timeshare coming even close to giving us a Title.
A ‘Right-to-usage’ contract is like leasing a car: You know you don’t own the car – you just have the ‘Right-to-use’ the car.
Our Timeshare rents Rooms to anybody walking in off the Street – do I (as supposedly Real estate owner of the Timeshare) participate in any profit? No!
I informed our Timeshare Management Company that we will no longer pay the Maintenance Fees and they even came back admitting that in these hard economical times owning a timeshare is a luxury – but they also advised me that we own the Timeshare for life. Is there any other contract out there that cannot be cancelled?
I expect a Collection Agency to contact us in the near Future – big Deal. We are talking about our money – not theirs.
These Timeshare contract cause so much grieve and financial hardship for so many people and I am just flabbergasted how helpless we all seem to be – as supposed to be ‘Real estate owners’.
We can complain as much as we want until we take this issue to our elected Official and have them take it under review.
khana1954
 

DeniseM

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In the US, most timeshares are deeded property. In Mexico, most are "right to use."

We can complain as much as we want until we take this issue to our elected Official and have them take it under review.
How are elected officials in the US going to have any authority over timeshares in another country?
 

yumdrey

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Most of the timeshare units in US are real estate, because there are valid deeds for ownerships.
Some are exceptions - WorldMark is a pure vacation club ownership without deed involvement.
Some Hilton weeks are right to use (RTU), Hilton Club NY's RTU is valid till 2032.
Some Hyatt properties are also RTU. They are deeded, but there is an expiration date to use.
Disney Vacation Club (DVC) are RTU also. Expiration date is different by the resort.
 

Passepartout

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Before simply defaulting on your MF obligation and waiting for the bill collectors to call, you should at least try to sell or give way the TS. If you feel it has value, you can check 'completed auctions' on eBay to determine an asking price (it won't be much). Or you can just list it for $1 and it will automatically be listed in the 'Bargain Deals'. Of course, in order for you to transfer ownership it will have to be paid in full and MF current.

Your elected officials have no authority over transactions you entered into in another country.

Best wishes

Jim Ricks
 
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ampaholic

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There was a booklet printed in the 70's called "The Poor Man's Survival Book" that had a chapter on avoiding collection attempts - Google it :p
 

nightnurse613

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As has been pointed out, many timeshare weeks come complete with a deed showing ownership of 1/52 of a particular (whole) unit and, if the resort was sold you would be entitled to share proportionally in the sales price above liabilities (not likely). It absolutely is real estate AND you agreed to contribute to its upkeep (M/F). Also, as pointed out, there are other types of ownership but since we can't tell where you own, I couldn't comment on your situation specifically. The bottom line, again as pointed out, is to try and divest yourself of what you own and not have to keep looking over your shoulder!:ponder:
 
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Maple_Leaf

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Long-Term Leases

Many timeshares in Ontario are considered long-term leases. The lease is recorded with the county just like any other long-term lease of real estate, e.g. a farm.
 

nightnurse613

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That's interesting however, just about any document can be recorded. No reason you couldn't record a regular rental agreement if you were so inclined (or my cat's birth registration). There is still an underlying deed to the land that the timeshare occupies. In the case of RTU or 100 year leases; the land can revert back to the original owner. Even leases in perpetuity can revert (if original conditions are not complied with).:bawl:
 

Carolinian

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Another method of timeshare ownership is to hold shares of stock, which is how the world's very first timeshare developer, Hapimag, started and how it continues to operate. Hapimag operates mainly in Europe, but the share ownership model in timesharing is also prevalent in South Africa and Australia.
 

Maple_Leaf

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That's interesting however, just about any document can be recorded. No reason you couldn't record a regular rental agreement if you were so inclined (or my cat's birth registration).
Sure, but in Ontario long-term leases are REQUIRED to be recorded, not optional. My understanding is most RTU contracts are just between the timeshare developer/owner and the interval owner. Not here. The province is a required 3rd party in all timeshare sales transactions, regardless of deed or lease.
 

khana1954

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As has been pointed out, many timeshare weeks come complete with a deed showing ownership of 1/52 of a particular (whole) unit and, if the resort was sold you would be entitled to share proportionally in the sales price above liabilities (not likely). It absolutely is real estate AND you agreed to contribute to its upkeep (M/F). Also, as pointed out, there are other types of ownership but since we can't tell where you own, I couldn't comment on your situation specifically. The bottom line, again as pointed out, is to try and divest yourself of what you own and not have to keep looking over your shoulder!:ponder:
Thank you for all your replies!
To add/clarify: Our Timeshare is in Austria.
OK, so your T/S is actually a piece of Real estate…
Have we tried to give it away as a Donation… YES.
We even offered it to Family Members living in Germany… no takers.
There is one T/S listed on EBay for $ 1.00…(Sister Location of ours)… no takers.
We have tried to give it away… we have tried to find buyers….. Why are we all on this Message Board?
Because we all have one or the other Problem with this so-called Real-estate. WE CAN’T EVEN GIVE IT AWAY!!!!!
I read a lot of ‘clarifications’, ‘explanations’ and ‘advise’ BUT I also read between the lines and notice OUR helplessness with these Timeshare. Why do we have to ‘look over our shoulder’ like a criminal?
Did we make a mistake buying this timeshare: YES!
Was it the worst investment we ever did? YES!
Have we paid more than enough? YES!
We have decided to have ‘Pain with an End – than Pain with no End’. Enough is Enough!!!
We are way beyond trying to sell it, donate or return it. The bug stops here right now!
 

TUGBrian

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I would suggest using that exact same post in a conversation with your resorts HOA.
 

khana1954

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In the US, most timeshares are deeded property. In Mexico, most are "right to use."



How are elected officials in the US going to have any authority over timeshares in another country?
Simple: The owners of the foreighn T/S are US Companies!!! The contracts are based on US Law!
 

khana1954

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Getting rid of the M/F..

I would suggest using that exact same post in a conversation with your resorts HOA.
Thanks for the advise.
We stopped payment on our M/F (principal paid off). Now we got a call from the Collection Agency (automated call asking to call back...).
We stopped paymand effective Jan 1st 2012. Even the Collection Agency is somewhat surpised that they have to go after us after 2 missed payments.
He mentioned that if we don't pay they will turn it over to their lawyer.
Let's say we owe $90.00/month x 12 month not paying..... So at the end of 2012 we defaulted on $ 1,080.00.
This would be a case for Small Claims Court - usually filed where the Defendant is located (we are over 3,000 miles from the Office of our Timeshare Managements Location). I.E. their lawyers would have to file a claim in my Hometown. (Travel, Hotel & Meals for a lawyer will not justify those expenses...). Now lets say they proceed and come to my Hometown and get a Court Order asking me to pay.... and I don't pay! Now they have to start a complete new legal process to enforce the judgement.
But here is actually the good news in my case: Our T/S was investigated and charged under the 'Conspiracy to Violate the -State- Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practises Act - Breach of Contract and misapproprtiation of funds.
Maybe I am just lucky that one of our T/S owners is a lawyer and filed this lawsuit and really shed some light on how crocked the actual owners are.
Keep you posted..
 

rrlongwell

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... Our T/S was investigated and charged under the 'Conspiracy to Violate the -State- Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practises Act - Breach of Contract and misapproprtiation of funds.
Maybe I am just lucky that one of our T/S owners is a lawyer and filed this lawsuit and really shed some light on how crocked the actual owners are.
Keep you posted..
Maybe you should consult with an attorney before anymore months a maintance fees go into default.
 

saz25

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Hi,
We are in a similar situation, in that we would love to give away this TS. We are also considering stopping to make maintenance payments.

Someone told us that they can go to collections for the money, but they can also wait till you have several years of non-paid maintenance fees and then come after you for maybe $4000 - $5000 (4-5 years of past due payments).

Could this happen? We are looking for the appropriate solution.
Thanks,
Steve
 

LannyPC

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Hi,
We are in a similar situation, in that we would love to give away this TS. We are also considering stopping to make maintenance payments.

Someone told us that they can go to collections for the money, but they can also wait till you have several years of non-paid maintenance fees and then come after you for maybe $4000 - $5000 (4-5 years of past due payments).

Could this happen? We are looking for the appropriate solution.
Thanks,
Steve
The most important thing to remember is to not fall for any of these companies that promise to sell your timeshare for kajillions of dollars if you pay them an upfront fee. Also, beware of ones who promise they can cancel or relieve you of your timeshare - especially if they employ the "viking ship" scheme.

Have you tried asking the resort if it will take your timeshare back in lieu of foreclosure?

If that does not work, try the free giveaway method here on TUG:

http://tugbbs.com/forums/showthread.php?t=132509
 

Mel

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Thanks for the advise.
We stopped payment on our M/F (principal paid off). Now we got a call from the Collection Agency (automated call asking to call back...).
We stopped paymand effective Jan 1st 2012. Even the Collection Agency is somewhat surpised that they have to go after us after 2 missed payments.
He mentioned that if we don't pay they will turn it over to their lawyer.
Let's say we owe $90.00/month x 12 month not paying..... So at the end of 2012 we defaulted on $ 1,080.00.
This would be a case for Small Claims Court - usually filed where the Defendant is located (we are over 3,000 miles from the Office of our Timeshare Managements Location). I.E. their lawyers would have to file a claim in my Hometown. (Travel, Hotel & Meals for a lawyer will not justify those expenses...). Now lets say they proceed and come to my Hometown and get a Court Order asking me to pay.... and I don't pay! Now they have to start a complete new legal process to enforce the judgement.
But here is actually the good news in my case: Our T/S was investigated and charged under the 'Conspiracy to Violate the -State- Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practises Act - Breach of Contract and misapproprtiation of funds.
Maybe I am just lucky that one of our T/S owners is a lawyer and filed this lawsuit and really shed some light on how crocked the actual owners are.
Keep you posted..
You bought a foreign timeshare. Your local law defines $1080 as a small claim, but that might not be the case with Austrian law. You need to read your contract, which probably dictates where such a lawsuit would be filed - not likely in your hometown, but theirs. The controlling law is likely to be Austrian law, not US law.

As others have suggested, post a for sale ad in the bargain area here, perhaps someone else wants your timeshare, and you can avoid further attempts at collection. I would be glad to hear a company is pursuing collections after only 2 missed payments - that is to the benefit of all the other owners who will have to cover the added cost to maintain the resort. It is not their fault that you have chosen not to use your timeshare every year, it still had to be maintained.
 

mhalyard

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It's not real estate

I don't believe TS are real estate, regardless of what clothes the industry has placed them in (i.e. deeds etc).

1. From the original purchase, TS only go DOWN in value. This has been true since the start of this industry.

2. The secondary market is highly illiquid at best, due to all the strings attached to TS, e.g. maintenance fees.

3. As an "owner" you have little to no control over your "real estate" - you can hardly sell it, you can't improve it, you don't control how much you spend on it, and you can't change your HOA management company. YOU ARE PLACED IN A CORNER.

Bottom line, TS are a get-rich-quick scheme by hotel development companies who prey on uneducated vacationers at emotionally opportune moments.
It is a disgraceful practice which should be outlawed or at minimum better regulated to provide more information to users, similar to tobacco.
 

bizaro86

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I don't believe TS are real estate, regardless of what clothes the industry has placed them in (i.e. deeds etc).

1. From the original purchase, TS only go DOWN in value. This has been true since the start of this industry.

2. The secondary market is highly illiquid at best, due to all the strings attached to TS, e.g. maintenance fees.

3. As an "owner" you have little to no control over your "real estate" - you can hardly sell it, you can't improve it, you don't control how much you spend on it, and you can't change your HOA management company. YOU ARE PLACED IN A CORNER.

Bottom line, TS are a get-rich-quick scheme by hotel development companies who prey on uneducated vacationers at emotionally opportune moments.
It is a disgraceful practice which should be outlawed or at minimum better regulated to provide more information to users, similar to tobacco.

A timeshare with a deed is certainly real estate, basically by definition. There are other types of real estate which have met all of your conditions above.

For example, a lot in a planned development in the US bought in 2008 could certainly have:
1) Have gone continually down in price since purchase
2) Be illiquid due to huge supply/low demand (like a T/S)
3) Be subject to architectural/HOA/other controls

And actually, the owners of a T/S could almost certainly change the management company if they all got together. I've done that in a complex of whole ownership condos, and it was neither easy nor fun. I wouldn't be willing to undertake the work in a T/S condo, and I doubt anyone else would be either, which is why it doesn't happen, not because it's impossible to do.
 

khana1954

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You bought a foreign timeshare. Your local law defines $1080 as a small claim, but that might not be the case with Austrian law. You need to read your contract, which probably dictates where such a lawsuit would be filed - not likely in your hometown, but theirs. The controlling law is likely to be Austrian law, not US law.

As others have suggested, post a for sale ad in the bargain area here, perhaps someone else wants your timeshare, and you can avoid further attempts at collection. I would be glad to hear a company is pursuing collections after only 2 missed payments - that is to the benefit of all the other owners who will have to cover the added cost to maintain the resort. It is not their fault that you have chosen not to use your timeshare every year, it still had to be maintained.
The owners/Management Company are here in the USA - so it all falls under US Laws - I wished it would fall under Austrian or any European Law!!!
If we don't have the money for the M/F my last concern is for others to pay higher M/F. May be we have already been paying higher M/F because others have walked away... so we did pay our share.
 

khana1954

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Hi,
We are in a similar situation, in that we would love to give away this TS. We are also considering stopping to make maintenance payments.

Someone told us that they can go to collections for the money, but they can also wait till you have several years of non-paid maintenance fees and then come after you for maybe $4000 - $5000 (4-5 years of past due payments).

Could this happen? We are looking for the appropriate solution.
Thanks,
Steve
If you 'love to give it away' that should be your first action to take. It is relatively simple - just don't get your hopes up too high - depending where your T/S is located. List it on e-bay for $ 1.00 and see what happens.
Keep records of your attempts to get rid of your T/S.
Stopping payment of the M/F (assuming you paid off the principal!!!!!!) is your last resort.
Our lawyer advised us to wait until our Collection Agency escalates our case and just before they actually file a Law Suite make a small partial payment of i.e. $ 7.50... Now you can claim that you are makeing your best efforts to bring you account current (You are not really in default since you have made a payment..) you can actually have some fun - and remember Laywers are very expensive and usually have bigger fish to fry.
Good Luck!
 
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