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Sheraton Vistana Resort Special Assessment[MERGED]

marijalas

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I have just returned from the Vistana Courts where they have told us we will be assessed for $1700 per week for renovations. I didn't see anything that warranted that kind of charge. Not only that but if there is that type of cost, then perhaps Starwood has been negligent in maintaining areas of the resort and are responsible for these costs themselves. Perhaps they are trying to force people out who cannot afford such a fee? It is has been clear from the start they they wanted to take over the Courts without offering any decent compensation for such. Perhaps we shouldn't be charged this fee but Starwood is trying to coerce us into paying for something they don't have the legal right to charge us for? I believe these are all legitimate questions that all owners at Starwood should be asking.
I would be interested in hearing anyone else who has been assessed these charges and their views on this subject. I will also be considering other places to gain information and resources in regards to this matter.
 

DeniseM

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(i started a new thread for your question.)
 
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Robert D

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Starwood can't make these assessments unless the majority of the owners approve it. Was the $1,700 per week for the 2BR's? How much were the other size units? I'm in Cascades and anxious to see how much ours will cost.
 

SDKath

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WOW! That's a lot. Falls is about $1250 per 2BR unit. Katherine
 

gcole

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What is a courts week worth on the after market? It does look like they are trying to take it over. This area should be rebuilt but you guys should get something for you ownership. Have they made buyout offers?
 

mariawolf

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That comes out to $88,400 per unit ($1700 x 52)!
How is that possible?? I find it hard to believe furnishings, carpet, appliances and even new HVAC units could cost that much.
Those kinds of figures are what give timeshares a BAD name!
Was any money set aside for replacements?? If so that is on top of this figure?
Really hard to believe it could cost that much!
 

bward

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Hi mariawolf,

I think you have some very valid questions.

Is this the first and maybe only time Vistana Courts has been redone? And isn't Courts the original section of Vistana Resort?

I'm wondering if Sheraton is intending to do more with Courts (because it has to) than with the other sections.

Please keep us informed when you are given more information on this.

bward
 

mariawolf

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I am not an owner there but this caught my eye because we own at Harborside which is having phase 1 renovations and we are not having any assessment. In my mind a properly run timeshare should have this all worked in to the replacement budget--what is the replacement budget for if you also have to pay an assessment?
As other posters have said I also thought that assessments had to be approved?
When I say the $1700 figure it seemed high to me and when I multiplied it by the number of owners per unit (52) it is even more staggering.
We have only owned since 2001 (Harborside) and our more recent Frenchman's Cove purchase so maybe others who have owned longer can give more light on assessments.
 

timeos2

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Why special assessments? Let me count the ways

I am not an owner there but this caught my eye because we own at Harborside which is having phase 1 renovations and we are not having any assessment. In my mind a properly run timeshare should have this all worked in to the replacement budget--what is the replacement budget for if you also have to pay an assessment?
As other posters have said I also thought that assessments had to be approved?
When I say the $1700 figure it seemed high to me and when I multiplied it by the number of owners per unit (52) it is even more staggering.
We have only owned since 2001 (Harborside) and our more recent Frenchman's Cove purchase so maybe others who have owned longer can give more light on assessments.
With a properly operated resort HOA there should be no Special Assessments except in extremely unlikely circumstances. But many, it may be most, resorts are operated on a relative shoestring on the "future needs" side (reserves) due to a number of factors.

- If the developer remains in charge of operations (manages) there is a very strong push to hold fees down to help sales efforts. Plus the resort may be nearly new - look great - so the obvious need for money set aside for improvements or replacements isn't there.

- Many resorts are far more lax than they should be about collections. For every week that doesn't pay the fee for those that do go up and the reserves are that much more underfunded. It is incredible but many developer based managements tend to gloss over delinquencies - again to help sales by not upsetting customers (even though those same customers may be willing to upgrade they often also end up defaulting with yet another hit to the resor bottom line)

- Even when the owners take control - with or without an independent management - the reserves are an easy place to hold low thus holding down overall fees. In times of rising costs operations may need an additional $20-$30 per week so adding $20-$30 annually or more to fully fund reserves becomes a big hurdle. Until they know what the reserve needs are (a current reserve study) and fund at or above that estimate Boards are flying blind. Not many are willing to do the sales job needed to make owners understand why in the long run that is a better way and the numbers needed are large.

- Catch up. In some cases things are so bad that the resort is actually in debt (a no-no in any condo/timeshare world). A SA may be needed in those cases to get the Association into financial compliance with the law.

- High taxes / management fees. Despite their shortcomings as management groups many developer based management companies charge unbelievably high fees often tied to the annual fee rate. They get paid more if fees go up! In some cases I've seen it can get to a staggering 20% of the total resort budget just for management. And in FL (as well as other States) taxes can be a significant portion of the annual fee bottom line. Many groups don't bother to challenge them thus leaving needlessly high income taken from owners for that portion every year.

- Too late to do it slowly. When a resort is already 10-15 years old and in desperate need of renovation there just isn't time to wait 5 years and collect slowly from the owners. Poor planning and underfunding has led to an "emergency" SA. It really isn't but they have no choice if the work is to get done.

Looks like Vistana owners may have been hit with many of the factors above.

$1700 is one of the highest assessments I've ever heard of. Owners had better hope they are getting a top quality job including top end furnishings (far too many I've seen are middle of the road quality or less despite high costs) as well as physical improvements to the units themselves not just whats in them. Many times too much money is going to design firms, contractors, overhead to management ($$$ wasted) rather than the actual work needed. Tigh control is required and again I've seen too many developer based managements take plenty of money but do little to properly control large projects such as this will be.

And even bigger is hearing that this won't happen again. That the Board/Management has a plan in place - meaning even more increases in annual fees in all likelihood if they haven't been collecting enough all these years - so that in 5-7 years there WILL be money to properly do the next renovation without another SA. Again too many resorts act like this time the work will last forever (it didn't before and it won't now) and they don't need to look to the future needs of the resort until far down the road.

That may be the most important commitment of all for owners.
 
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jjlovecub

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I have just returned from the Vistana Courts where they have told us we will be assessed for $1700 per week for renovations. I didn't see anything that warranted that kind of charge. Not only that but if there is that type of cost, then perhaps Starwood has been negligent in maintaining areas of the resort and are responsible for these costs themselves. Perhaps they are trying to force people out who cannot afford such a fee? It is has been clear from the start they they wanted to take over the Courts without offering any decent compensation for such. Perhaps we shouldn't be charged this fee but Starwood is trying to coerce us into paying for something they don't have the legal right to charge us for? I believe these are all legitimate questions that all owners at Starwood should be asking.
I would be interested in hearing anyone else who has been assessed these charges and their views on this subject. I will also be considering other places to gain information and resources in regards to this matter.
This has been discussed in a few other threads. The Courts section is a dump compared to others in the resort. It needs to be refurbished. However, I agree with you that $1700 is a lot

Starwood can't make these assessments unless the majority of the owners approve it. Was the $1,700 per week for the 2BR's? How much were the other size units? I'm in Cascades and anxious to see how much ours will cost.
This is simply not true unless the HOA is violating its bylaws. This decision was made by the Courts board with no communication prior to the owners. I tried for a year PRIOR to them issuing the assessment to talk with them about it because I knew it was coming. All emails, letters, and phone calls regarding the issue went unreturned

That comes out to $88,400 per unit ($1700 x 52)!
How is that possible?? I find it hard to believe furnishings, carpet, appliances and even new HVAC units could cost that much.
Those kinds of figures are what give timeshares a BAD name!
Was any money set aside for replacements?? If so that is on top of this figure?
Really hard to believe it could cost that much!
This is my main point - There is no way it cost that much. I have asked for figures from the Board with no reply

Hi mariawolf,

I think you have some very valid questions.

Is this the first and maybe only time Vistana Courts has been redone? And isn't Courts the original section of Vistana Resort?

I'm wondering if Sheraton is intending to do more with Courts (because it has to) than with the other sections.

Please keep us informed when you are given more information on this.

bward
It is the 1st time it has been redone. I saw the model and it is extensive. Granite countertops, flat screen tvs, the works - nice but I could do it for less than $80,000!
 

timeos2

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This is my main point - There is no way it cost that much. I have asked for figures from the Board with no reply



It is the 1st time it has been redone. I saw the model and it is extensive. Granite countertops, flat screen tvs, the works - nice but I could do it for less than $80,000!
If all they are doing is furnishing/appliances then $88,000 / unit is a total ripoff. At that price we should be talking a gutting & total rebuild of the unit interiors including plumbing, hard flooring, etc.

Florida law requires that owners be given a complete breakdown of EXACTLY how the Special Assessment will be spent (budget). If they have not provided that they are breaking the law.
 

SDKath

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They are redoing all of the interior for all of SVR. New kitchens, new granite, new furniture, Bose systems and flat screen TVs, etc. Then, they are attacking the outside too. The "model" units look incredible. I think it will be worth it in the end but I cannot help but wonder how come they allowed it to get SOOOO dilapidated that it has to have a complete "gutting" in the first place.

K
 

bward

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Hi SDKath,

I wonder about this too.

The only thing I can come up with is that the original Vistana developer may have set things up in a way that there wasn't enough money to update what needed updating and now Vistana is in this position.

Believe me, I know this lets Starwood off the hook. But to be fair, Vistana Resort has been around for a very long time, long before Starwood got involved.

Since Starwood took over, this resort, plus the Vistana Beach Club have been completely redone.

Going forward I hope Starwood is more attentive to these issues, and these unpleasant special assessments, as necessary as they are, will be avoided.

bward


They are redoing all of the interior for all of SVR. New kitchens, new granite, new furniture, Bose systems and flat screen TVs, etc. Then, they are attacking the outside too. The "model" units look incredible. I think it will be worth it in the end but I cannot help but wonder how come they allowed it to get SOOOO dilapidated that it has to have a complete "gutting" in the first place.

K
 

Linda74

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I have not been told what our assessment fee will be but $1700 is about what I estimated. My feeling is that many owners won't be able to pay the amount and that is why it is so high, and for those of us who do pay, it may be akin to putting money into a sinking ship. I have hoped they would demolish the units and build taller ones and give owners some compensation for their units or even a unit and sell the newer ones. We are in RCI points and I wonder if we pay the assessment if the Courts will be upgraded with a new higher points level....
I did write to the board and received a canned reply. I have never heard of such a huge capital outway going forward without owners input but apparently the board has rules that suit them.....It is indeed a shame that they let the units deteriorate so badly. We bought it resale for about $5000 in 1992. I could gladly walk away as it has served us well and we have only visited Vistana once in all of these years but stayed in the Cascades.
 

James1975NY

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I would wait until you actually get the amount in writing. Being "told" that the special assessments are going to be $1700 per owner does not necessarily mean that this is what it will be...

Having said that, this phase needs a MAJOR uplift. I believe that the association has been managed relatively well over the years however, Starwood can only bill what is approved each year. $80k plus per unit may seem high, but I would hold your opinion until everyone has seen these villas as well as the information in writing. The two bedroom townhomes are quite large and they are in fact, old and outdated.

I venture to guess even after $1700.00 (if that is what it is) that the improvements will be well worth it....they are just about 30 years old.

If I am not mistaken, Disney construction workers were housed there before it was converted to timeshare? - A LOT of history there...!!!!
 

Mjasp

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I think the Courts units are the largest units. I know I own in the Palms section and that is way bigger than the Cascades. Maybe that is why they are charging more for the Courts than other units.

Also, if you are in Florida they have redone units you can see.
 

brz34

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Does anyone have any pictures of the courts model? Being a courts owner seeing pictures might make it easier to justify such a large special accessment.
 

GKK

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Received Fees For Refurbishment Today

We received our letter today....Villas will be $1703.40
Townhouses will be $2555.10!! This is outragous. The refurbishment cost for villas is $98,300 and for the townhouse $147,400. We own in the courts and have owned for over 20 years and have only ever been able to receive an exchage 8 through RCI a few time, and the maintenance has went up continuously.If anyone has any ideas how to get off this bus ride please post. I just want to be done with Vistana!
 

Ken555

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Yikes! That's a huge special assessment.

I predict a sudden drop in resale prices for Courts...
 

LisaRex

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Wow. For $100 - 150k, I could remodel my entire house! That is a ridiculous sum of money.
 

Mjasp

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We received our letter today....Villas will be $1703.40
Townhouses will be $2555.10!! This is outragous. The refurbishment cost for villas is $98,300 and for the townhouse $147,400. We own in the courts and have owned for over 20 years and have only ever been able to receive an exchage 8 through RCI a few time, and the maintenance has went up continuously.If anyone has any ideas how to get off this bus ride please post. I just want to be done with Vistana!
WOW! That is extremely high. I hope the Palms are $1,200 like rumor has it.
But you never know.
 

Jeffy3

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Hi everyone. I found this bulletin board because we received our notice that our Vistana Courts townhouse was going to cost us $2500 . We own a fixed week. I don't know much about time share as we essentially inherited this from my in-laws. I wasn't a big fan in the past of paying those maintenance fees each year , and then to get this notice over the weekend put me into outrage mode. Being that I don't know much about time shares, i would like to ask those of you who do:
1) are remodeling assessments normal on a very occasional basis?
2) anyone know why the notice is so short and why they need the money now when the project doesn't start until 2010? Couldn't they have spread out the payments?
3) does anyone agree with my wife's theory that most of the Court owners are old-time and part of the fixed week scheme and that this is an attempt to get everyone to sell back to Starwood so the new owners will have to deal with the point system?
4) Anyone know if there are any other message boards out there covering this topic?

Thanks!
 

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Hi guys,

As a comparison.....we just received our Cascades renovation fee schedule. Have been owners since 1989. Started in Springs then switched to Cascades when it opened.

$95,100.00 per unit
$17,700.00 per unit covered by reserves.

Which leaves $1,571.00 per 2 bedroom week(WEEK).....on top of normal maintenance / taxes.

The last FAQ that they give is "How do I sell my Villa?".......so they quite possibly might be wanting people to sell by the OUTRAGEOUS costs. That FAQ just seems way, way out of place.

....and what do you think "other/contingency" to the tune of $18,000.00 per unit week might be referencing?

I really thought that this was why the annual maintenance / tax fees were so high. To repair and replace.

Somebody(s) really screwed up......or is everything going as planned!?

steve
 

damianinpa

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Vistana Palms/Spas Refurb Fees announced

I own in the Palms which is the same for people in the Spas...same condo association. Got my brochure today....
Cost is $1626 for each owner of 2 bedroom..billing in 3 installments. $542 due in Jan '09, Jun '09, Jan '10. Work will start in April '10 to be completed in Jan '11.

To me this is too much..other sections are $1200. Why this is $1626 is beyond me. I was there in July and saw the sample unit...it was extrememly nice, but, for me, not $1600+ nice. Guess we either pay or sell it.

Damian
 
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