Virginia law provides consumers with a number of protections when it comes to timeshare transactions. For instance, if you buy a timeshare in Virginia and then want to back out of the deal, state law gives you the right to cancel the contract—but you only get a week to do so. Also, 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 certain information about prizes and gifts, if they’re offered as part of a timeshare advertisement.
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 don't make your timeshare mortgage or assessments payments, you might lose your timeshare to a foreclosure.
Read on to learn more about the most significant aspects of Virginia’s timeshare laws.
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 the timeshare purchase contract. (Va. Code Ann. § 55.1–2217).
The public offering statement must disclose specific information about the timeshare to you, including:
Virginia law states that 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).
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:
In Virginia, any earnest money deposit or advance made in connection with the purchase or reservation of a timeshare must be held in escrow. (Va. Code Ann. § 55.1–2303).
Timeshare purchasers sometimes take out a loan to finance their purchase of a timeshare. You should be aware that if you don't make your timeshare mortgage payments, you could lose your timeshare to a foreclosure.
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. (Find out more in Can a Timeshare Be Foreclosed for Nonpayment of Fees or Assessments?)
The Virginia Real Estate Timeshare Act governs timeshare transactions in Virginia. To find the Virginia statutes that address timeshare transactions, go to http://lis.virginia.gov and click on “Code of Virginia.” The statutes covering timeshares used to be located in Title 55, but in 2019, the state legislature amended the Code to add Title 55.1. As of October 1, 2019, you can find Virginia’s timeshare laws in that title.
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, contact a foreclosure attorney.