Hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters can strike anywhere. As an owner, you’re liable for timeshare disasters. Here’s what you need to know.
You’ve heard about scams that have turned into timeshare disasters, but there are also natural disasters to consider. Unfortunately, many timeshares are located in disaster-prone areas. Florida, Hawaii, and other beach resorts are top timeshare locations and all see their share of hurricanes, tropical storms and volcanoes. Just in the past few years, we’ve seen beach properties face Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and other locations contend with tornadoes and earthquakes.
When disaster strikes, the last thing we want to focus on are our small financial losses. That’s why it makes sense to think about potential issues in advance, and being prepared so you can think about what’s important. When the dust clears and everyone is accounted for, you’ll be ready for the next steps.
What happens to your reservations and weeks during a natural disaster? Just like any property, you will need to observe all safety precautions necessary for the disaster. Evacuations apply to you, too. Even if it’s your only week. Even if you spent all of your points. Safety has to be everyone’s chief concern. No vacation is worth that kind of risk.
However, timeshare disasters resulting in missed weeks is one of the risks of ownership. Depending on your specific circumstances, you may be able to reschedule or trade for another week. Just like any other reservation or scheduling issue related to timeshares, this ability is likely to be based entirely on availability. We know that timeshare occupancy is already very high, which can result in difficulty making last-minute changes and reservations. You may also face fees associated with changes, especially if you are in a points-based timeshare.
But what about after the disaster passes? What if your timeshare has incurred property damage that interferes with occupancy? Again, just like any other property ownership, repairs need to be made before occupancy can resume. If your repairs overlap your week or reservation, once again, you will not be able to take advantage of your reservation. And just as with changes during the event, changes during the clean-up of timeshare disasters will be dependent on availability and fees.
Unfortunately, repairs can take a long time. Your missed vacations will continue for the duration of the clean-up and repairs, which can be months. You will, of course, continue to pay maintenance fees during the time in which your property is unavailable. Speaking of maintenance fees…
Missed vacations are one thing, but missed vacations you’re still paying for are quite another. When a natural disaster strikes your timeshare, you can be liable for damages and repairs just like any other property owner in disaster’s path. The impact on you depends on the damages incurred, insurance issues, and your HOA’s reserves.
The first line of financial defense should be your HOA’s insurance. And if that’s not enough, hopefully, your HOA has reserves to cover the repairs. However, if the damages exceed the limits of insurance and reserves, you may be subject to a special assessment.
This is a common story:
“When and if your timeshare property is struck by any natural disaster, you will have maintenance and special fees to pay. The resort counts on your help and money to do your part with any repairs that need to be done to the timeshare property and units. The resort will estimate the cost of the damage done and your maintenance fees will increase and be split equally among all timeshare members at the resort that was damaged… The cost will usually depend upon how much damage is done, how much needs to be fixed and replaced, and if the units are even livable anymore.” Source: Vacation Timeshare Rentals.
With special assessments, the sky’s the limit. Owners have reported special assessments of over $5000 for water damage. Even if you do escape without a special assessment, resorts will often raise fees in the wake of damages. Hurricanes Irma and Harvey drove fees up for many owners.
Have the effects of timeshare disasters left you unable to pay fees? Looking to exit your timeshare? We can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.