Florida Law Cripples Timeshare Sales
First, our disclaimer. We are not attorneys nor hold any legal authority, license, or legal business structure. The following is only our opinion based on our experience dealing with Real Estate law for over 35 years as both an individual and as a licensed Realtor and Broker. Check with your own attorney if you have questions or want a legal opinion on our comments.
Most of this bill deals with the business conduct of the resort and is not pertinent to timeshare unit owners relating to transfer of their own timeshares. We will address those issues here. We will note the pages under discussion. As you review this or any law always remember that sections are important in that they are specific to who and what the relate to. General words are NOT general when used in the legal code.
Before you start you may want to download the actual law that Florida created so you can follow along with the discussion
Start with Section 1. It doesn’t apply to you. Skip it.
Section 2 starts on page 10 with two definitions of importance on page 11.
- “Resale transfer agreement” means a contract or other agreement between a person offering timeshare interest transfer services and a consumer timeshare reseller, in which the person offering timeshare interest transfer services agrees to provide such services as described in s. 721.17(3).
- “Timeshare interest transfer services” means any good or service relating to an offer or agreement to transfer ownership of a consumer resale timeshare interest, or assistance with or a promise of assistance in connection with the transfer of ownership of a consumer resale timeshare interest, as described in s. 721.17(3). The term does not include resale advertising services as provided in this chapter.
Notice it doesn’t list a buyer or receiver. The above definitions relate to the reseller (the owner and seller) and the entity offering transfer service (sales help or closing services) to the seller. In other words, this is discussing the third party involvement in the actual title transfer process between the seller and the final buyer. It does NOT relate to that transfer done solely between the seller and buyer without a third party involvement.
It’s important to understand the significance of this. All the following parts of this section in the law only relate to the broker or title service.
Section 3 starts on page 11 following the definitions and relates to financial requirements of the developer/company selling timeshare units. It doesn’t apply to you. Skip it.
Section 4 beginning on page 16 essentially upholding normal real estate law requiring how deed transfers are to be held, necessary information due from the resort to the seller and buyer, and how quickly paperwork is to be processed. Other than reviewing the process this is not pertinent and can be skipped.
Section 5 starts on page 18. In the first few pages it deals only with the developer or subsequent entities taking over in that same position (i.e. think Resort). On page 20 (3)(a) if begins to get to the timeshare unit owner (your) level.
Notice that is says specifically, (3)(a) In the course of offering timeshare interest transfer services, no person shall: Now, it’s important to know the previous definitions. This whole section (3) only applies to third party brokers or escrow services – NOT you as an owner.
Finally we get to the good part. On page 23 at the bottom it states,
4. The escrow agent… This is critical. All of this and it’s subparts (#) ONLY relate to the escrow agent. In particular:
(e) No person shall participate, for consideration or with the expectation of consideration, in a plan or scheme, a purpose of which is to transfer a consumer resale timeshare interest to a transferee that the person knows does not have the ability, means, or intent to pay all assessments and taxes associated with the consumer resale timeshare interest.
It goes on in:
(g) A managing entity may bring an action to enforce the provisions of paragraph (e). In any such action, the managing entity may recover its actual damages, and the prevailing party may recover its reasonable attorney fees and court costs.
How long can this be done? Not specified. What actual damages? Includes all unpaid membership fees, charges, maintenance, etc. since the date of title transfer.
Since this laws enactment, many escrow services have refused to deal with Florida Timeshares. Any wonder why? According to the legal advisors of the Resorts, if such a transfer is made, even without foreknowledge by the escrow service, it can be held responsible for such actions or at least forced to pay legal fees to defend themselves and prove they didn’t know. Such is society today. The simple accusation is damaging enough.
The rest of the bill deals with the foreclosure process and doesn’t apply to you unless you allow the resort to foreclose on you.
If the transfer is between you and the actual person or entity taking title,
you are safe.
This law doesn’t apply to you.