Thinking of buying a timeshare in Mississippi? Take the time to learn about Mississippi timeshare laws that offer some protection in the transaction.
The Mississippi Real Estate Commission governs timeshare transactions in Mississippi. The commission provides various protections for timeshare purchasers, including making sure you get a copy of the public offering statement, providing a right to cancel a timeshare contract, and prohibiting timeshare developers from using advertisements that are false or misleading, among other things. But you still need to be careful when purchasing a timeshare, and you should be aware that if you don't make your timeshare mortgage or assessments payments, you may lose your timeshare through foreclosure.
Read on to learn about a few of the important aspects of Mississippi’s timeshare law.
Public Offering Statement
A public offering statement contains general information concerning the timeshare developer and the timeshare plan. If you buy a timeshare in Mississippi, the timeshare developer must provide a copy of the public offering statement to you before you sign the purchase contract (Rule 8.4).
The public offering statement must include, among other things, contact information for the developer, a description of the timeshare interests, the current annual budget, and a description of any financing offered by or available through the developer (Rule 8.4).
Your Right to Cancel a Timeshare Purchase in Mississippi
In Mississippi, you can cancel a timeshare purchase contract within:
- seven calendar days from the date you sign the contract, or
- seven calendar days after you receive the public offering statement, whichever is later (Rule 8.7).
The purchase contract must contain a statement about your right to cancel directly above the signature line and this right cannot be waived (Rule 8.7).
How to Cancel a Mississippi Timeshare Contract
You can cancel your timeshare purchase by sending written notice of your intent to cancel to the developer at the address provided in the contract. The notice is considered effective as of the date sent (Rule 8.7). (See Nolo’s article on how to cancel a timeshare contract for more information on cancelling a timeshare purchase.)
If you cancel, the developer must refund all payments you made under the contract within 30 days after receiving your cancellation notice (Rule 8.7).
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 Mississippi, a developer that offers an exchange program among timeshare owners must give certain disclosures to program participants including a description of the purchaser’s contractual relationship with the exchange program, the fees for participating in the exchange program, and a description of the limitations or restrictions in the exchange program (Rule 8.8).
Escrow Account Required in Mississippi Timeshare Transactions
The timeshare developer must put any money you pay in connection with a timeshare purchase in Mississippi into an escrow account (Rule 8.9).
The funds must be released:
- to you, if you cancel the contract
- to the developer, if you default in performing an obligation under the purchase contract, or
- to the developer, after the cancellation period expires (Rule 8.9).
Consumer Protections in Mississippi
Timeshare salespeople are known for using hard-sell tactics and misrepresentations to get you to make a snap decision about buying a timeshare. Mississippi provides protections to shield timeshare purchasers from deceptive sales practices.
In Mississippi, timeshare advertisements may not:
- misrepresent a fact or create a false or misleading impression regarding the timeshare plan
- make a prediction that the price or value of the timeshare will increase, or
- contain any contradictory statements (Rule 8.11).
Prizes and Promotions
Timeshare sellers are notorious for getting people to attend sales presentations by offering free gifts, prizes, or vacations. In Mississippi, a developer or other person using a promotion to sell timeshares must clearly disclose that the promotional device is being used to sell timeshares, as well as disclose the date, year, and method by which all prizes will be awarded (Rule 8.11).
Real Estate License Required
In Mississippi, any timeshare seller, other than the developer and its regular employees, must be a licensed real estate broker or real estate salesperson (Rule 8.1).
Mississippi Timeshare Foreclosures
Often, timeshare purchasers take out a loan to finance the transaction. If the deadline to cancel the purchase has expired and you don't make your timeshare mortgage payments, you could lose your Mississippi timeshare through foreclosure. (Learn more in Nolo’s article Timeshare Foreclosures.)
In addition to monthly mortgage payments, timeshare owners are generally responsible for maintenance fees, special assessments, utilities, and taxes, collectively referred to as “assessments.” If you don't pay the assessments, the timeshare management entity can place a lien on the timeshare. In Mississippi, that entity may then foreclose an assessments lien in the same manner that a mortgage of real property is foreclosed (Rule 8.13). (Read about the Mississippi foreclosure process.) (For more information on timeshare assessment foreclosures, see Nolo’s article Can Timeshares Be Foreclosed for Nonpayment of Fees and Assessments?)
Finding Mississippi’s Timeshare Laws
To find the rules that govern timeshare transactions in Mississippi, go to www.mrec.ms.gov and click on “License Law.” Then click on “MREC Administrative Rules” to download a copy of the Mississippi Real Estate Commission Rules and Regulations. Look at Chapter 8 (Time Shares) to find the relevant rules.