What Is a Special Assessment on a Timeshare?
A special assessment is a mandatory fee that timeshare owners are required to pay in order to cover the costs of repairs, improvements, or other expenses related to their ownership. Special assessments can be levied by the timeshare association or developer, and they can vary significantly in amount depending on the needs of the property.
While most timeshare owners are aware of the yearly maintenance fees associated with their ownership, they may not be as familiar with special assessments and what they entail. It’s important to understand what a special assessment is, how it can impact your ownership costs, and what you can do if you’re unable to pay.
The costs of a timeshare, which frequently arise over time, and greatly exceed the purchase price paid by the owner, are among the most frequent complaints of timeshare owners. Indeed, the ongoing costs of timeshare ownership which include maintenance fees, tend to go up, year over year.
These costs can be a financial strain on timeshare owners; the high charges of timeshare ownership, including fees and assessments, are among the most significant factors driving individuals away from their timeshares.
For many timeshare owners, there is also a certain level of confusion that comes along with these bills, and a common query:
What are consumers paying for? Where does this money go, and why are they obligated to pay these often-steep expenses, perhaps even for a timeshare resort they’ve never used?
Our own Michael Finn recently took on a version of this common consumer question in an interview. Here’s a video of what he had to say: What is a “special assessment” on a timeshare?
And here’s a full transcription of his remarks:
“A special assessment is a lot like your maintenance fee, in the sense that you have to pay it. If you don’t, you won’t be able to use your unit. It’ll be essentially taken away from you.
A special assessment is, as the word would suggest, for an extraordinary type of an assessment. So for example, we’ve just gotten through some hurricanes in this area and there may be resorts with damages that are going to have to be repaired, and maybe this amount was not budgeted, and maybe some of it won’t be covered by insurance. So there is a possibility of a special assessment.
Maybe the developer will want to put in another pool, or expand the clubhouse, things that are not normal, average maintenance type items. The developer will pass those costs along to you, and you will be responsible to pay for them.”
Interested in learning more? Here are a few resources from the Finn Law Group team worth perusing:
- Who Is This Property Owner’s Association to Whom I Pay My Resort Maintenance Fees?
- Why Are My Timeshare Resort Fees So High?
- What Happens If My Timeshare Resort Suffers Damage?
- The Timeshare Developer’s Dilemma
Led by Timeshare 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.