There are a lot of questions about timeshare maintenance fees. What are they, why do owners have to pay them, why are they so high? In truth, these fees play a major role in the maintenance of your resort. And “maintenance” can entail so many things, like employee wages, training, or even resort renovations. Make sure you know what to expect before buying a timeshare since fees play a big role. And if you’re an owner, make sure you never stop paying them. Learning how to buy a timeshare and managing the associated costs can be easy with the right information.
What Are Timeshare Maintenance Fees?
Resorts are beautiful, luxurious getaways we love to visit year after year. Ever wonder what keeps them just so grand? You guessed it. Part of the upkeep of timeshare resorts is divided between all of the owners. Maintenance fees are required dues that owners pay to maintain the resort. They go towards employee wages, upkeep, and renovations.
They’re so important to keep the resort going. Would you want to be an owner at a resort that is dirty, has poor customer service or outdated amenities? We’d hope not! You can think of timeshare maintenance fees as the upkeep of a vacation home, except they are less expensive and the maintenance is done for you.
How Much Are Maintenance Fees?
Depending on your resort and your unit, timeshare fees vary widely. Keep in mind, every timeshare owner at every resort pays maintenance fees. That means the associated costs are divided among all owners, which means you are actually paying less. According to ARDA’s 2019 State of the Industry Report, the average annual maintenance fees are up to $1000. Every few years, ARDA releases reports on the timeshare industry, the cost of ownership, and more.
When Are Maintenance Fees Due?
The due date for maintenance fees also varies by developer. The most common billing period for fees is annually, but other resorts may require them to be paid monthly, quarterly or even biannually. When considering a timeshare, it’s important to know when your fees will be due so you can be prepared and get the most out of your vacation ownership. Generally, fees are due at the beginning of the year, or around the time of your use year. Check your contract to see exactly when they are due. Failing to pay your maintenance fees can result in some unpleasant situations as an owner.
What Do They Cover?
Many timeshare owners wonder what exactly their maintenance fees go towards. As a few examples, they cover upgrades to the resort and units, emergency funds and more.
Unit Upgrades and Maintenance
Just like owning a car or a house, a timeshare requires maintenance. Every year you have costs associated with caring for your home and automobile. This concept also applies to timeshares. Maintenance fees cover the cost of upgrades to your unit, for example: new appliances, new beds, lighting fixture and air conditioning servicing just to name a few.
Not to mention, they also cover the cost of maintaining the grounds of your resort. The trees don’t trim themselves! Additionally, the annual fees you pay make sure your family is safe on vacation, since the resort invests money into making the grounds safe and secure.
You’re also compensating for the on-site amenities that require care during the year. This can include the labor and supplies needed to maintain pools, spas, gyms and parks that are associated with your resort. This also enables the resort to bring you new and improved attractions and on-site amenities year after year.
And, In Case of Emergency
In addition to these factors, maintenance fees are also used during emergency situations. If your resort is affected by inclement weather, it can be repaired using the maintenance fees you’ve already paid. This means when serious weather strikes, owners aren’t asked to pay even more to cover the damages.
Paying these fees is a normal part of owning a timeshare and should be expected when deciding to own your vacations.
What Happens If I Stop Paying My Timeshare Maintenance Fees?
Curious what happens if you just stop paying your annual dues? It’s not recommended. If you stop paying your timeshare maintenance fees, you will likely default on your ownership. This not only hurts the resort, but it hurts you and your credit. Like a home going into foreclosure, the resort takes the ownership back and it will stay on your credit report.
This can be a real concern for people that are trying to buy a house, a car or anything that requires a credit check before purchase. Many timeshare cancellation companies will tell you to stop paying your maintenance fees while they work on “getting you out,” however in the fine print of their contracts, a successful cancellation includes foreclosure.
What If I Can’t Pay Them?
Talk to your resort if you’re ever in a situation where you can’t pay your maintenance fees. They may have options to help you, like an in-house rental program or exit solutions.
If you do not make payments on your maintenance fees, you could hurt your credit. Timeshare contracts outline the necessity of paying maintenance fees when you sign, so it’s important that you do so. Regardless if you use your timeshare or not, your fees need to be paid. For the years you don’t use your timeshare, you have the option of renting it out. If you find you don’t want to use your timeshare at all anymore, you may be able to sell it to a new owner who is looking for their very own timeshare.
What Happens if You Default on a Timeshare?
If you stop paying your timeshare maintenance fees or mortgage, you will default on your ownership. If you default on your timeshare, it will hurt your credit score and show on your credit report. This means that when you borrow money in the future, the default can have a negative impact. You could be denied from receiving a loan on a home, car, or other goods you apply for.
How Can I Stop Paying My Timeshare Maintenance Fees?
As we mentioned before, you should never just stop paying your timeshare maintenance fees. You will default on your ownership, and it will stay on your credit report forever. If you are done with paying maintenance fees, you can try to sell your timeshare on the resale market. This is one of the most responsible ways to exit your ownership, aside from contacting your resort directly.