If you buy a timeshare and regret it, most states have "cooling-off" laws; these laws let you get out of a timeshare contract if you act within a few days, usually within three to ten days. In Virginia, the cooling-off period is seven days. Also, Virginia law provides consumers with a number of protections when it comes to timeshare transactions. For instance, the timeshare developer must disclose specific information to you, including general information about the timeshare project, information about the timeshare exchange program, if there is one, and specific information about prizes and gifts, if they're offered as part of a timeshare advertisement.
Still, even though Virginia law provides quite a few protections for timeshare purchasers, you still need to be cautious when buying a timeshare, and you should understand that if you take out a mortgage loan to buy a deeded timeshare and stop making the payments, the lender, usually the resort developer, will probably foreclose. Also, timeshare owners typically have to pay annual maintenance fees and special assessments to their homeowners' association (HOA.) If, as an owner, you don't pay the fees and assessments, the HOA might sue you for money or foreclose your timeshare. (With a right-to-use timeshare, people generally sign a contract and agree to make monthly payments. While a developer may foreclose a deeded timeshare, a right-to-use timeshare is typically repossessed, which is a different legal process than a foreclosure.)
Virginia law says you may cancel a timeshare contract until midnight of the seventh calendar day after signing the contract. If the seventh calendar day falls on a Sunday or a legal holiday, then the right to cancel the contract expires on the day immediately following that Sunday or legal holiday. (Va. Code Ann. § 55.1–2221).
You may cancel the contract by either:
If you cancel, the developer can't charge a penalty and must refund all of the money you paid within 45 days after receiving your notice of cancellation. (Va. Code Ann. § 55.1–2221).
A "public offering statement" contains basic information about the timeshare development. In Virginia, the timeshare developer must provide you with a copy of the public offering statement before you sign a timeshare purchase contract. (Va. Code Ann. § 55.1–2217).
The public offering statement must disclose specific information about the timeshare to you, including:
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 Virginia, a developer that offers an exchange program among timeshare owners must give certain disclosures to program participants including:
Sometimes, timeshare sellers offer gifts or prizes to potential buyers to get them to attend a sales presentation. In Virginia, any timeshare advertisement that offers a gift or prize must disclose certain information such as:
Timeshare purchasers sometimes take out a loan to finance their purchase of a timeshare. But if you don't make your timeshare mortgage payments, you could lose your timeshare to a foreclosure. Also, 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 might also face foreclosure.
A few of the various options to avoid a timeshare foreclosure include:
If you want more information about timeshare laws in your state or need assistance canceling a timeshare, consider talking to a real estate attorney. If you're facing a timeshare foreclosure and have questions about the process or your options, contact a foreclosure attorney.