If you've fallen behind in your timeshare mortgage payments or have stopped paying the assessments, your timeshare could be foreclosed. But you might be able to get rid of the timeshare without going through foreclosure or work out an arrangement to keep your timeshare, if that’s what you want to do.
Keep reading to learn about various options to avoid timeshare foreclosure, including selling your timeshare, as well as workout options like negotiating a debt reduction or completing a deed in lieu of foreclosure.
A timeshare is a form of shared property ownership where several owners have the right to use the property for a specified period each year. Often, timeshare properties are resort condominiums, though it is also possible to have a timeshare interest in another type of property such as a hotel room, cabin, RV, or houseboat.
The two main different types of timeshare interests are:
(Learn more about how timeshares work in our Timeshare FAQ.)
If you purchase a deeded timeshare and become delinquent in mortgage payments or fall behind in paying the assessments, you may lose the timeshare to foreclosure. State law governs timeshare foreclosures and the process will be judicial or nonjudicial, depending on the particular state’s laws.
If you go through a timeshare foreclosure, your credit score will likely drop—perhaps by as many as 100 points or so—depending on a few factors, like whether and when the lender or developer reports late timeshare payments. While not every foreclosure gets reported to the credit reporting bureaus, foreclosures are part of the public record, and the credit reporting bureaus often search public records for information. If the bureaus learn about a timeshare foreclosure, the foreclosure goes into the credit history.
You might also be subject to a deficiency judgment, but deficiency judgments aren't common after a timeshare foreclosure.
Timeshare resorts generally make it very difficult for you to get out of your timeshare obligations, but options exist for disposing of a timeshare (or working out a deal to keep the timeshare) including:
If your timeshare is in a very desirable location or at an extremely popular resort, you might be able to sell the timeshare and maybe even make a profit. This probably isn't the case though. Unfortunately, most timeshares have very little resale value.
If you own the timeshare outright, but are just behind on assessments, you might be able to donate the timeshare to a charity and take a tax deduction. To donate the timeshare, you’ll need to bring the assessments up-to-date before donating it. Even though you’ll have to get caught up on the assessments to make the donation, you won’t be responsible for future assessments and you’ll be able to avoid foreclosure.
While it used to be popular for charities to take timeshares as a donation, now, most charities won't accept them. Still, you might be able to find a charity willing to take your timeshare off your hands.
If you're behind on payments or assessments and want to keep the timeshare, you could potentially be able to negotiate with the lender or resort to reduce the amount you owe or come up with a payment plan.
Foreclosure is an unappealing option for both sides—it hurts your credit and it costs the lender or resort time and money—so you might be able to work out an agreement in which the lender or resort:
A deed in lieu of foreclosure occurs when the lender or resort agrees to accept a deed to the property instead of foreclosing in order to obtain title. In the world of timeshares, voluntarily giving title back to the resort is typically called a "deed back."
On the downside, most timeshare resorts are reluctant to accept a deed back, especially if you're delinquent on your assessments or behind in payments. This doesn’t mean that it never happens though. You might be able to convince the resort that accepting a deed back is a better option than a foreclosure. Or you could be able to bring the account current and then complete a deed back, releasing you from future liability and avoiding a foreclosure. Even if you bring the account current, the timeshare resort might require an additional fee to do a deed back.
Timeshare rescue scams are common. Unscrupulous companies target timeshare owners who are desperate to unload their timeshares. If you're thinking of using a timeshare company to help you dispose of your timeshare, contact your state Attorney General and local consumer protection agencies in the state where the company is located to ask if any complaints are on file. You should also search online for complaints. Always check the Better Business Bureau before doing business with any timeshare company.
Also, be sure to check out our article How to Avoid Timeshare Scams.
If you're facing foreclosure of your timeshare property, it's recommended that you speak to a qualified attorney who can advise you about what to do in your circumstances and inform you about the applicable timeshare laws.