Timeshare Maintenance Fees
The American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the trade association that represents the timeshare industry, defines timeshare maintenance fees this way:
“A fee that timeshare owners are required to pay, usually on an annual basis, to cover the costs of running the resort, including daily management, upkeep, and improvements.”
The organization’s Understanding Vacation Ownership guide also states:
“The amount of the yearly maintenance fees typically depends on the size, location, and amenities of the resort and is paid by each owner in proportion to the amount of time and/or unit owned.”
And while this is an apt way of describing maintenance fees, which are part and parcel of timeshare ownership, it does not tell the complete story.
This description, for instance, skirts around the industry’s open secret that…
Timeshare maintenance fees tend to trend upwards and increase year after year.
The data doesn’t lie. According to this “State of the Industry” report from 2013, printed in ARDA’s Developments publication, maintenance fees at timeshare resorts averaged $822 per interval annually in 2012, “up 5% from 2011.” The State of the Timeshare Industry: United States Edition for 2015, meanwhile, saw this trend continuing; maintenance fees averaged $845 in 2013 and $880 in 2014, a 4% change.
Meanwhile, that definition neglects to inform consumers that, as per ARDA’s 2016 AIF Owner’s Study:
- 66% of consumers who wished to exit a timeshare wanted to do so because “the maintenance fees are too high”
- 46% of respondents noted that this was their “most important” reason for exiting
- That same report also reveals that maintenance fees are a major factor motivating timeshare owners who are “planning to sell;”
- 50% of consumers in that category planned to sell because they “no longer want to pay the membership fees,”
- 30% responded that they could “no longer afford the maintenance fees.”
Timeshare maintenance fees bottom line:
It’s important for consumers to know exactly what they’re getting in to with a timeshare obligation, which may include a myriad of costs:
- a down payment
- interest payments
- maintenance fees
- property taxes
- special assessments
- potentially even more costs and fees.
Lisa Ann Schreier, the “Timeshare Crusader” behind Timeshare Insights, recommends always getting “full and complete” answers about current maintenance fees, the “five (5) year history of those fees,” and the presence and purpose of any and all special assessments before even considering a timeshare resort.
Whether you’re considering dipping a toe into the vacation industry or you’re looking to find your way out, it’s important to stay informed and stay vigilant.
Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.