Florida Timeshare ‘Right to Cancel’ and Foreclosure Laws
The most important piece of consumer protection under Florida law to be aware of, particularly if you decide to terminate your newly purchased timeshare interest, is your right of cancellation/recission. If you are within the statutory parameters for cancellation, you will receive back all monies you paid the developer on your timeshare purchase.
Timeshare Foreclosure In Florida, What’s The Catch?
The catch is that you have to send a written letter of termination/recission to the resort at the specified address contained within your timeshare purchase contract within the 10 day cancellation period provided by the statute. (Note that different cancelation timelines are in place for other states besides Florida. The rescission period is for most other states is between 5 to 10 days.) That 10-day (Florida) period commences the next day after you have executed a timeshare purchase contract. There is a provision for extending that time frame if you can establish that you were not provided the consumer disclosure packet known as a Public Offering required by law, from the timeshare developer at closing. However, given the difficulty of establishing that you didn’t receive something that the resort may claim that you did in fact, receive, is problematic, therefore for most purposes, relying on that 10-day timeline is your best position. This 10-day rescission imposed by state law (F.S. #721.10), is the only time period the law provides to cancel. Thereafter you must come to terms with the developer itself to attempt to cancel this contract.
Should you determine that you wish to dispose of your interest after the expiration of your recission period, you are at the mercy of a nearly non-existent, resale market where resale prices are a small percentage of what you paid for a timeshare interest from the developer. If you’ve financed your resort interval purchase from the developer, typically for 10 years, you’ll most likely owe well more for your timeshare interest than you’ll be able to remarket it for, so for that entire 10 year period it will be nearly impossible to escape the contractual obligations you committed to when you purchased your timeshare interest via a resale. Do not expect much help or sympathy from your timeshare developer during this period either, as typically they will make every effort to hold you to the terms of your purchase contractual obligations including annual maintenance fees, on top of the loan payoff for the purchase price. Once the promissory note is paid off, some developers will grant a membership take-back for a fee, but only if all attending maintenance fees and/or other financial obligations are up to date as well. Given this set of circumstances, it is crucial that if one wishes to change one’s mind and terminate, they should do so immediately after purchase and they had better follow the steps as provided for in their purchase contract to do so!
Florida’s Timeshare Foreclosure Laws
Florida’s timeshare foreclosure laws are not overly consumer friendly and provide an option only to the timeshare resort developer, (and not to the timeshare owner) to terminate their owners interest, either via a judicial proceeding or at their discretion, a non-judicial proceeding. Under either method the property use rights that existed via timeshare ownership are stripped from the owner and handed back to the developer.
The major distinction between the two forms of foreclosure is, that should the developer determine that they want to pursue an action against the owner beyond simply taking back their timeshare property interest, they have the ability to do so via the judicial foreclosure proceeding, which involves filing a foreclosure action in court, naming the owner or owners as defendants, and serving those defendants with a lawsuit.
The other foreclosure option the developer has available to them is far more consumer friendly in that there is no formal legal proceeding commenced, and the developer is limited to simply taking back the timeshare property without pursing the former owner for monetary damages.
An attorney who specializes in timeshare cancellation can help you review your options to determine how to best assist you in your individual situation. The bottom line is, if you have just purchased a timeshare and wish to cancel the timeshare, you will need to exercise your rescission rights immediately after purchase to potentially save yourself a lot of aggravation and money down the road!