If you are thinking of buying a timeshare in Minnesota, learn about Minnesota timeshare laws and how to protect yourself in the transaction.
In Minnesota, if you purchase a timeshare and then change your mind, you have the right to cancel the agreement, but only for a few days after you sign the contract. Also, the timeshare seller must disclose certain information to you before or at the time you purchase the timeshare. But you still need to watch your step when purchasing a timeshare, and you should understand that if you don't make your timeshare mortgage or assessments payments, you may lose your timeshare through foreclosure. Read on to find out more about the most important features of Minnesota's timeshare laws.
A public offering statement contains general information about the timeshare development. In most Minnesota timeshare sales, the timeshare developer must provide the purchaser with a copy of the public offering statement before or concurrently with the first written sales offer or when payment is made, whichever occurs first (Minn. Stat § 83.24).
The public offering statement must disclose important information about the timeshare, such as the developer's name and address, a general description of the timeshare, as well as all unusual and material circumstances or features affecting the timeshare property (Minn. Stat § 83.24).
In Minnesota, you can cancel the contract within five days after the date you receive a legible copy of:
The right to cancel cannot be waived (Minn. Stat § 83.28).
To cancel the purchase, you must mail written notice to the seller at the address stated in the contract. The notice of cancellation is considered effective as of the date you mail it (Minn. Stat § 83.28).
The notice does not have to be in any particular format. It must simply indicate that you intend to cancel the agreement. (Learn more about cancelling a timeshare purchase in Nolo's article How Do I Cancel a Timeshare Contract?)
If you cancel, the seller must refund all of the money you paid within 30 days after receiving your notice of cancellation (Minn. Stat § 83.28).
It is not unheard of for timeshare salespeople to use high-pressure sales tactics and half-truths to get you to make a spontaneous decision about purchasing a timeshare. In Minnesota, real estate brokers and salespersons may not make fraudulent or misleading statements or advertisements to induce you to buy a timeshare (Minn. Admin. Rule 2810.1200).
In addition, timeshare brokers and salespeople in Minnesota must be licensed (Minn. Stat § 83.25).
Timeshare owners often have trouble selling their timeshares since there is virtually no after-market for them. Consequently, scam artists have popped up who will falsely tell a timeshare owner that there is a ready and willing buyer waiting in the wings to purchase the timeshare -- but the timeshare owner must pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in upfront fees to process the transaction. After the timeshare owner pays the fees, the scammer often disappears or the buyer never materializes.
To prevent this type of scam, Minnesota law prohibits timeshare resellers from accepting advance payment in connection with a timeshare resale (Minn. Stat § 83.44(d)).
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?)
To find the Minnesota statutes that pertain to timeshares, go to www.leg.state.mn.us. Click on "Table of Statutes Chapters" and look in Chapter 83 called "Subdivided Lands," which includes timeshares.
For information about standards for timeshare advertising, go to the Minnesota Administrative Rules at www.revisor.mn.gov/rules and look for "Department of Commerce" on the left-hand side of the screen. Then, click on "2605 to 8775" to the right of this heading. The relevant rule is located in Chapter 2810 (Subdivided Land).