In Iowa, timeshare sellers must provide you with various disclosures when you purchase a timeshare and you get the right to cancel the contract (so long as you act promptly). If the time allotted to cancel the purchase has expired and you don't make your timeshare mortgage or assessments payments, you may lose your timeshare through foreclosure. Read on to learn more about the most important features of Iowa’s timeshare law.
If you purchase a timeshare in Iowa, the developer (or an agent of the developer) must provide you with a current property report no later than ten days after you sign the purchase agreement (Iowa Code § 577A.11).
The property report must contain the following information and disclosures (among others):
- a brief description of the timeshare project
- your projected liability for common expenses (if any)
- any initial or special fee due from you at closing (along with a description of the purpose and method of calculating the fee)
- any current or expected fees or charges that you must pay for the use of any amenities or facilities related to the property
- the extent to which a unit may become subject to a tax or other lien arising out of claims against other owners of the same unit
- a disclosure that if you do not understand any provisions contained in the documents provided, you should obtain professional advice
- a disclosure that any oral statements made by the seller may not be legally binding, and
- information about how to cancel the purchase (Iowa Code § 577A.11).
Timeshare Exchange Programs
One of the common features of timesharing is the ability to exchange your timeshare week (or other designated period of time) for someone else’s.
In Iowa, if a timeshare owner is permitted or required to become a member of or participate in any exchange program, the developer (or an agent of a developer) must give the following disclosures:
- the name, address, and telephone number of the exchange agent (and a statement as to whether that person is an affiliate of the developer)
- whether membership or participation, or both, in the exchange program are voluntary or mandatory
- the expenses charged to the timeshare owners for membership in the exchange program
- whether and how any of the expenses may be altered, and
- if any expenses are fixed on a case-by-case basis, the manner in which they are to be fixed in each case (Iowa Code § 577A.12).
Right to Cancel a Timeshare in Iowa
In Iowa, you have the right to cancel a timeshare contract within five business days after your receive the above disclosures (Iowa Code § 577A.14(1)).
The right to cancel is not waivable ((Iowa Code § 577A.14(6)).
How to Cancel
To cancel the contract, you may provide notice by:
- hand delivery
- electronic delivery, or
- prepaid U.S. mail (Iowa Code § 577A.14 (3)). (Get more tips on how to cancel a timeshare contract.)
If you cancel, the seller of the timeshare must refund your payment within 30 days after he or she receives your notice of cancellation (Iowa Code § 577A.14(1)).
False and Misleading Statements are Illegal
Under Iowa law, a developer who makes a false or misleading statement of fact in the disclosures (or omits a fact) that reasonably could influence your decision to purchase the timeshare can be held liable for damages and you may choose to void the contract (Iowa Code § 577A.14(5)).
Iowa Timeshare Foreclosures
Often, timeshare purchasers take out a loan to finance the purchase of a timeshare. If you don't make your timeshare mortgage payments, you could lose your timeshare through foreclosure. (Learn more in Nolo’s article Timeshare Foreclosures.)
In addition to monthly mortgage payments, timeshare owners are ordinarily responsible for maintenance fees, special assessments, utilities, and taxes, collectively referred to as “assessments.” If you fail to keep up with the assessments, you will also likely face foreclosure. (Find out more in Nolo’s article Can a Timeshare Be Foreclosed for Nonpayment of Fees or Assessments?)
Finding Iowa’s Timeshare Laws
To find the statutes that govern timeshares in Iowa, go to the Iowa Legislature’s webpage at www.legis.iowa.gov and click on “Iowa Code” in the middle of the page. Then, go to the left-hand side of the page and click on the “+” next to “Iowa Code” and again next to “2013 Iowa Code” to view the statutes. Look in Title XIV (Property), Subtitle 2 (Real Property-Gifts), Chapter 557A (Time-Shares).