Pennsylvania does not have extensive laws when it comes to timeshares, though there are some state law protections for timeshare purchasers. For example, if you purchase a timeshare in Pennsylvania, in most cases, you have the right to cancel the contract if you do so in a certain period of time. You also have the right to receive a disclosure (called a public offering statement) about the timeshare. However, despite these protections, you should still be cautious when buying a timeshare. In addition, you should understand that if you don't make mortgage payments or timeshare assessment payments, you could lose your Pennsylvania timeshare in a timeshare foreclosure.
Read on to learn more about the most significant aspects of Pennsylvania law that pertain to timeshares.
Public Offering Statement
A public offering statement contains general information about the timeshare development and important matters to consider in making a timeshare purchase. In Pennsylvania, the timeshare developer must provide you with the public offering statement no later than the date you sign the contract (68 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 4408(a)).
The public offering statement must disclose certain information about the timeshare to you, including the projected common expense assessment for each timeshare, the extent to which timeshare owners are jointly and severally liable for the payment of common expenses assessments, and information about how to cancel the timeshare purchase (68 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 4405).
Your Right to Cancel a Timeshare Purchase in Pennsylvania
In Pennsylvania, you have the right to cancel a timeshare purchase contract within seven days after receiving the public offering statement. However, if you receive the public offering statement more than seven days before signing the contract, you cannot cancel the agreement (68 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 4408(c)).
Exception. If you received the public offering statement more than seven days before signing the contract, but there is an amendment to the public offering statement that materially and adversely effects your rights or obligations (and the property has not yet been conveyed), you may cancel the contract within seven days after receiving the amendment (68 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 4408(c)).
How to Cancel the Timeshare Contract
To cancel the timeshare contract, you may:
- hand deliver written notice of cancellation to the developer, or
- mail the notice of cancellation by prepaid United States mail to the developer (68 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 4408(e)). (It is best to send the notice by certified mail, return receipt requested. See Nolo’s article on how to cancel a timeshare contract for more information on how to rescind a timeshare purchase.)
If you cancel, the timeshare developer cannot charge a penalty, and must promptly refund all payments you made prior to cancelling the contract (68 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 4408(e)).
Disposing of a Pennsylvania Timeshare
If the cancellation period has expired and you’re having difficulty making your timeshare payments or just want to be relieved of your timeshare obligation, see Nolo’s article Options to Avoid a Timeshare Foreclosure to learn about different ways to dispose of a timeshare.
Pennsylvania Timeshare Foreclosures
Many timeshare purchasers take out a loan to finance the purchase of a timeshare. If the deadline to cancel the contract has passed and you don't make your timeshare mortgage payments, you could lose your Pennsylvania timeshare through a Pennsylvania 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.” You will also likely face foreclosure if you fall behind in the timeshare assessments. (For more information on timeshare assessment foreclosures, see Nolo’s article Can Timeshares Be Foreclosed for Nonpayment of Fees and Assessments?)
Finding Pennsylvania’s Timeshare Law
To find the statutes governing timeshares in Pennsylvania, go to the State Legislature’s webpage at www.legis.state.pa.us and click on “Statutes” at the top of the page. Then click on “Consolidated Statutes” to find the Table of Contents. The relevant statutes can be found in Title 68 (Real and Personal Property), Part II (Real Property), Chapter 44.