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Special Assessments: The Worst Timeshare Surprise

Special Assessments

January 4, 2019 – by Primo Management Group

Special Assessments

Timeshare special assessments come up out of nowhere. Find out what to do about them.

If you own a timeshare, you probably know all about maintenance fees. But what happens when a special assessments bill comes in the mail? What is that even about? Do you really have to pay it? Find out what you need to know and how to prepare for timeshare special assessments.

What are Special Assessments?

Special assessments are one-time fees levied by timeshare HOAs or Board of Directors to cover unique or unexpected resort expenses. These fees are typically unscheduled and can be quite substantial. Plus they are in addition to your standard annual maintenance fees. Maintenance fees cover the basic costs of upkeep and routine maintenance to the resort. Combine these fees together and you could be looking at a substantial amount of money. Special assessments cover any additional expenses, which include but are not limited to the following scenarios:

Upgrades

Even with proper routine maintenance, any property eventually needs upgrades. After all, no one wants to stay in a suite with 20-year-old carpets and appliances. Just like in your primary residence, things need to be replaced and updated from time to time. Of course, you control what to upgrade, how much to spend, and when you can afford upgrades in your own home. Unfortunately, our HOA doesn’t make decisions based on your needs. They operate on their own timeline and you and the other owners have to adapt.

Large Repairs

Your maintenance fees cover smaller, routine repairs. However, they don’t cover larger damages from severe weather, natural disasters, or other big events. And given that many resorts are in areas prone to, for example, hurricanes, the chances of damages are a real concern. Check out this special assessment costing almost $6000 per owner! Some resorts do have reserves on hand to pay for such expenses, but if your resort doesn’t, expect your Special Assessment bill in the mail.

Other Owners Not Paying

We all know maintenance fees are constantly on the rise. Unfortunately, not all owners can keep up with those fees. They may fail to pay and may ultimately face foreclosure. And while that’s bad news for them, it’s also bad news for you. You and the other owners must cover the shortfall.

What to Do About Special Assessments

Special assessments are unexpected but you can prepare yourself. First, request a special assessment history from your HOA. This will give you a sense of what’s been levied in the past and allow you to make a more educated guess about the future. However, unless you have a functioning crystal ball, consider putting away some money just in case. You can also participate in your HOA by going to meetings to get an idea of possible upcoming expenses. But no matter what you do to prepare, uncertainty remains.

What If You Can’t Pay Your Special Assessments?

So, what if you weren’t prepared or the fee was more than you can pay? Unfortunately, your contract is clear: you have to pay. And if you don’t pay, your resort can take action. Expect letters and phone calls attempting to collect. If you still don’t pay, they may send you to collections, which will hurt your credit score. And in the meantime, you probably won’t be able to use your timeshare. Instead, we recommend contacting your resort immediately and trying to set up a payment plan. And if even a payment plan is out of reach, consider timeshare cancellation. We help people get out of their unwanted timeshare contracts every day. Contact PMG for a free, no-risk consultation.

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