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Getting out of Debt

Timeshare Maintenance Fees: The Ugly Truth

Timeshare Maintenance Fees: The Ugly Truth

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly—You might know it. It’s a Clint Eastwood cinematic classic spaghetti western from 1966. You might also know this real-life scene from your timeshare experience . . . 

  • The Good—Your luxury vacation spot (Yippee!)
  • The Bad—Yearly maintenance fees (Meh!) 
  • The Ugly—Maintenance fees increasing every year (Ouch!)

Sadly, the Ugly may not show up until a year after signing the timeshare papers. Then in following years, it’ll show up again and again, ad infinitum (that’s Latin for the rest of your life on earth)!  

But what are maintenance fees anyway? Read on because we’ve done the heavy lifting for you!

What Are Timeshare Maintenance Fees?

For the timeshare owner, these annual fees are collected by the timeshare management company yearly (or possibly monthly) for the stated purpose of covering the normal costs of maintaining their timeshare property. Just like regularly changing the oil in your car, timeshares need regular maintenance to make sure everything’s running well. This of course comes at a cost—and that cost is passed on to you. 

What Do Timeshare Maintenance Fees Cover?

Basically, these fees are for regular upkeep and repairs to the property. They could include:

  • Landscaping—mowing grass, trimming hedges, raking leaves, and even sprinkler systems
  • Amenities upkeep—pool cleaning and chemicals, gym equipment servicing, golf course maintenance
  • Business costs—insurance on the property, recordkeeping, scheduling, and administration

How Much Do Timeshare Maintenance Fees Cost?

In your initial meeting, you’re probably told about maintenance fees, right? The average across the country is $980 per year. But the surprise comes when you find out the fees go up every year, often much faster than the normal inflation rate. The latest numbers we have say the increase averages around 4% a year. So in hard numbers, your original $980 fee could be $1,451 by year ten—a total increase of 48%!(1) Help, I’m drowning here!

Timeshare maintenance fees increase 4% every year
 

Maintenance fees must be paid every year whether you use the property or not. They are non-negotiable. Read your contract carefully to see what is actually disclosed about your maintenance fees. 

And here’s a sad yet interesting fact: Sometimes the maintenance fees are subsidized by the developer during the sales process. But when the initial push for sales is over, and the fees are left for the Homeowners Association (HOA) to handle, these puppies can go up dramatically without any warning!(2) Wait, what?

We’re not arguing that regular maintenance needs to be done on a property. We get it. No one wants to stay in an “open air” property that really just has a hole in the roof! The problem is that the increased fees appear to be a major part of the income of the timeshare company. This indicates maintenance fees are used for much more than just upkeep on the property. And don’t get us started about the nasty extra assessment fees. They’re worse because they seem to be catch-all costs thrown at you, the owner, and you have no choice but to pay them.

What Happens If I Stop Paying My Timeshare Maintenance Fees?

When you break it all down, these fees make up a real debt that you owe . . . for life! If you stop paying it, the timeshare company will do what other companies do to collect. They’ll make phone calls and send letters, then they’ll assign it over to (insert deep sigh here) a collections company. They will do almost anything to get those fees out of you! 

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If you still don’t pay, the situation sinks even further into foreclosure and possible legal action against you. 

Also, think about it. The moral thing to do is to pay your debts. Like it or not, maintenance fees are a personal responsibility, until they’re not. If you really want to get rid of them, keep reading—we have some great news!

How to Get Rid of Timeshare Maintenance Fees

The only way to get rid of your timeshare maintenance fees and the other special assessment fees is to get rid of your timeshare altogether. As long as you own the property, there is really no way to end the yearly onslaught on your bank account. 

You may be able to rent your timeshare and recoup some of the money you’ve lost, but not all of it. Some try donating it to charity, which just passes the problem on to someone else. Others attempt to sell it themselves, which rarely ever works.(3)

Your best bet is to exit your timeshare agreement for good. Dave Ramsey has looked for years to find a suitable solution for his listeners. He finally found a company called Timeshare Exit Team who will help guide you out of the murky timeshare world once and for all! With their help, you won’t have keep looking over your shoulder or letting calls go to voicemail. You can be free and clear!

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