Understanding what is required to rent out your timeshare:
Many resorts require timeshare owners to rent out their timeshare interests or exchange their points through the resort company itself, meaning that the owners are beholden to a process that can be extremely complicated. Whereas a consumer at least has a modicum of control with a direct rental, when they must go through a resort, there is, generally speaking, no real way to independently prove whether the company rented your interest or didn’t. To dissuade would-be timeshare landlords from seeking renters, many developers also make it complicated to rent out an interest, if they make the option clear or readily available to owners at all.
Rather than interfacing with their resort company or management, many consumers instead turn to third party platforms online or in print, using classifieds to market their timeshare’s availability. And while there are certainly some organizations handling these matters the right way, consumers unfamiliar with the timeshare marketplace are bound to feel confused or overwhelmed the first time they enter one of these digital bazaars.
Suppose the owner of a timeshare interest can’t use her allotted time this year. Imagine a timeshare owner who’s falling behind on payments due to circumstances outside of his control.
Given the questionable state of the timeshare resale market, what options do these consumers have for making sure their timeshare interests don’t go to waste? For many, renting their timeshare seems like the most viable option; some even see it as a way of turning the financial burden of a timeshare into a net positive gain.
What are some of the pitfalls of renting out your timeshare?
And whether you offer your timeshare in a newspaper classified or in an online forum, you’re opening yourself up to many of the same pitfalls that consumers experience on timeshare message boards or chat rooms. There is no guarantee that anyone will go for your interest, particularly with the timeshare resale and rental markets as over-saturated as they are. Even if a potential renter does seem to bite, tales abound of customers withdrawing their commitments at the last second, leaving owners high and dry.
Lack of return?
Based on the state of the industry and our firsthand experience, it is also fairly unlikely that renting out your timeshare interest, through a resort or directly, will lead to the financial windfall that many consumers dream of. Besides having to pay a fee in many cases to list an ad or use a timeshare marketing service, the state of high supply and low demand for timeshare interests means that many listings go for pennies on the dollar; hardly enough, in many cases, to cover rising maintenance fee payments, let alone pay down an interest.
Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that the timeshare aftermarket, such as it is, can be a shady realm, full of scammers and fraudsters looking to make a quick buck on the backs of desperate timeshare owners. Be wary of any questionable characters who approach you out of the blue; be wary of paying any upfront fees; and be very wary of any offers from third party rental companies that seem too good to be true.
For consumers seeking relief from a timeshare that has become burdensome, legal representation may be the best option for an effective, lasting solution. 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.