A guide to Timeshare Maintenance fees
Timeshare Maintenance Fees – what are they?
A timeshare maintenance fee is sometimes known as a management fee. This is essentially a yearly bill or fee that a timeshare owner pays to go towards the running costs and general upkeep of the resort that their timeshare unit is a part of.
These running costs are collected by the timeshare company and can go towards the upkeep of the resort facilities, towards paying insurance, for utility fees, to purchase appliances and furniture, to refurbishing the property, and towards the payment of various taxes.
Can maintenance fees increase?
It is worth making it very clear here that maintenance fees do often increase every year. Usually, the prospect of percentage increases in management fees is detailed within the contract (although sometimes this is not made clear at the point of sale at which point you should seek legal advice). Most people, before taking on their contract, will have done the calculations to ensure they can afford the rising fees. However, the increase each year can be substantial, and there is no regulation in place to say how much your fees can increase by each year. In many cases, prices double every 10 years, so, if your fees were £400 per year in 2008, then they will likely be around £800 per year in 2018. If a contract is taken out for the maximum period of 50 years then your yearly fees can eventually rise to a staggeringly high price leaving owners struggling with payments. This is primarily an issue if the circumstances of the owner change, for example, a loss of job or work or a new family member to look after and care for meaning income is much less than it was when the timeshare was taken out.
Does the week I own determine the cost of my maintenance fee?
All timeshare holders of one property should pay the same fee, and these fees are all pooled together to cover costs. Regardless of the week or season, whether you are in a high demand week or a low demand week, your fees should be the same as the other owners of your timeshare unit.
Why Do My Fees Keep Increasing?
As mentioned above, timeshare management fees can rise from one year to the next which can cause understandable concerns and stress for owners.
Timeshare resorts and villas do need to charge management fees. Without them, over time the property would fall into disrepair with the constant use by various families. So, as time goes on more and more furniture or appliances may break and need replacing. This is often what leads to an increase in the fees.
Another reason your fees could go up in one year is due to special assessment fees. These can be added on top of management fees to cover unexpected expenses. Even if you don’t intend to use the facility that has been damaged, such as a tennis court or pool, you are still responsible for paying the fee.
Should I trust my fees?
You have the right to ask for a breakdown of how your fees are spent. If your timeshare company refuses to give you this information you should try to investigate further and even seek legal advice if they still refuse to let you see the fee breakdown. Make sure everything is in writing, especially your information request – whether this is pen and paper or over email. This can be evidence if the matter should escalate.
If you are dissatisfied with the quality of your timeshare, despite the management fees you are paying, then there are actions you can take. Make sure you take photos of the condition of the property before and after your use to compare them to subsequent years. This can be evidence when asking where your fees are spent, as you cannot see an improvement in the property. If your expenses are increasing, but the quality of the property has remained the same or decreased, you can then argue that you are being unfairly charged. If this problem turns into a court case, you need as much evidence as possible. Take photos of the good and bad and make sure they are dated and organised efficiently.
What Should I Do If I Cannot Afford To Pay my fees?
You are contractually obliged to pay your management fees every year. So, if you stop paying you will build a debt – you may even acquire interest costs on top if you stop payments for a long period of time. If your timeshare company or resort has made your life difficult by refusing to let you out of your contract than simply stopping your fees can seem like an easy ‘get out’. However, this is never a step we would recommend without a legal representative. A specialist timeshare lawyer will know the legalities surrounding your contract and will be able to advise you of the potential repercussions of stopping your payments.
If you have any further questions about your maintenance fees and how they work or if you think that you are unfairly paying fees that are much too high for the condition of your resort then you may need to enlist the help of a timeshare solicitor who can advise you of the next steps to take.