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As the new year approaches, you and others are getting into the mindset of “out with the old, in with the new.” You might be actively looking for ways to discard from your life the things that no longer serve your purposes, such as a timeshare. 

What once may have seemed like a good idea for you and your family may now be a drain on your finances.

Unfortunately, getting out of a timeshare agreement is not always as simple as returning an unwanted product to the store. If you are not careful, walking away from a timeshare can cause significant damage to your credit and financial situation. However, there are steps you can take to get out of your timeshare agreement.

Timeshares Explained

A timeshare is a property agreement wherein several individual owners share the use of a single vacation property. The cost of the property is divided up between the various owners, with each paying ongoing fees for maintenance and upkeep. 

In exchange, each owner is allotted a specific amount of time each year that they can spend at the property.

While this may seem like an ideal method to save costs on family vacations, timeshares do carry some disadvantages. These include:

  • Inflexibility in scheduling time to spend at the timeshare
  • Annual increases to monthly maintenance fees
  • Long-term contracts that can be difficult to terminate

Before you purchase a timeshare, therefore, it is important to understand the drawbacks that come with such a commitment.

The Wrong Way to Exit a Timeshare

Whatever your reason for wanting to get out of your timeshare agreement, simply stopping payment on your monthly fees or loan is a bad idea. Failing to pay these obligations can lead to a foreclosure of your interest in the timeshare property, resulting in a severe negative mark on your credit.

Better Ways to Get Out of a Timeshare Agreement

Instead of ceasing to pay your monthly obligation and risking foreclosure, you can use other methods to get out of your timeshare. These methods include:

Selling Your Timeshare

You are always free to sell your timeshare to another buyer. If you do so, you lose the benefit of the use of the property but are no longer held responsible for any of the fees associated with it. 

Asking the Resort to Buy the Timeshare Back

The company or resort that sold you the timeshare may purchase your timeshare back from you. You may need to speak to several individuals before you are connected with a person who can help you with your surrender or deed-back transaction.

Getting Outside Assistance

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and the Coalition for Responsible Exit are two groups that can help timeshare owners who want to get out of their timeshare contract. 

While success is not guaranteed, these groups may be able to put you in contact with timeshare developers who can help you terminate your agreement safely and legally.

Seek Legal Help if You Need to Cancel Your Timeshare

If these methods fail, it may be necessary to enlist the help of an experienced real estate lawyer to explore other options available to you. These other options might include litigation, especially if you were lied to when purchasing a timeshare. 

Succeeding through litigation takes legal skill and knowledge and is best attempted with the help of an attorney.

If you find yourself in this situation, Staten Island real estate attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez have the background and knowledge to help you achieve your goal of exiting your timeshare in a responsible way — and as quickly as possible.