Advocacy protects, preserves and enhances timeshare products for all
News and Press Releases
In the last few years, we’ve experienced a global pandemic and several historical weather events that could have decimated the travel industry. Instead, leisure travel is on the rise, with both domestic and international travelers returning in droves. In fact, more than 74 million travelers visited the timeshare-rich area of Orlando, Florida in 2022, making the city the No. 1 U.S. travel destination. And the timeshare industry continues to thrive right alongside it. Recently released data shows the industry has fully recovered to 2019 levels, recording $10.5 billion in sales in 2022, and timeshare is outpacing hotel occupancy at 77.6% compared to 62.1%.
To protect, preserve and enhance timeshare for the industry and owners alike, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the ARDA Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC) and the government relations teams have been hard at work during the first half of 2023. Several notable legislative wins have already been secured – from streamlining processes for timeshare homeowners’ association (HOA) matters, to removing burdensome and outdated registration requirements, to modernizing the process for the delivery of purchaser documents, and more.
Each of these legislative changes furthers our collective goal of protecting and benefiting all timeshare owners, including individuals, HOAs and developers. It is always good to remember that the timeshare industry is built upon a statutory and regulatory framework that needs to change in order for the industry to evolve. Along the same vein, consumer protection regulations need to change as well to recognize a younger generation of buyers, and ones that are technologically savvy. ARDA’s work to ensure regulations keep pace with the changing landscape of timeshare and travel is essential to supporting a thriving industry, ensuring owners continue to have the best experience possible, and setting our members up to succeed.
2023 Legislative Changes Benefiting Timeshare HOAs and Developers
What Changed: The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill, House Bill 182, that provides for non-judicial foreclosure of timeshare interests in the state. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the bill on May 4, and the new law will take effect on July 1.
What This Means for ARDA Members: The new law will benefit timeshare owners’ associations by providing a streamlined process to foreclose delinquent timeshare interests. This will allow associations to recover interests that are not paying maintenance fees and other obligations that are required to maintain, improve and operate the timeshare resort.
What Changed: ARDA pursued an aggressive legislative package this year consisting of three bills to reform and streamline the registration process in the state. All three bills – Senate Bill 798, Senate Bill 799 and House Bill 11 – have passed the Legislature. The Governor has until July 11, 2023, to sign the bills. The new laws would take effect upon signing by Governor Green.
Senate Bill 798 clarifies that the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, the state agency that regulates timeshare, is not required to verify that out-of-state timeshare properties comply with the zoning in the jurisdiction in which they are located.
Senate Bill 799 streamlines the timeshare registration renewal process by clarifying what is required to be submitted in a title report and when one is no longer required to be submitted.
House Bill 11 allows for the disclosure of non-material liens to be through a website or link in the disclosure. It also defines what timeshare plan documents are important to purchasers when making a purchase decision and only requires the disclosure of those documents. Finally, the bill eliminates the requirement that the regulatory agency review all encumbrances on title. Instead, the developer may certify that it has reviewed all encumbrances on title and determined there are none that will directly, substantially, and adversely impact utilization of the property by a purchaser.
What This Means for ARDA Members:
Senate Bill 798 eliminates the lengthy and expensive process that required developers to obtain letters from local zoning departments stating out-of-state timeshare units comply with local zoning laws.
By providing important clarity on what is and what is not required, Senate Bill 799 will help expedite the timeshare registration renewal process in the state.
The numerous policy changes made in House Bill 11 help to modernize the timeshare purchasing process, saving developers costs on things like printing and expediting the closing process through a more focused approach.
What Changed: The Virginia General Assembly passed legislation, House Bill 1955 / Senate Bill 969, which changed where a timeshare developer must state that it is reserving the right to offer “alternative purchases,” moving the required statement from the timeshare instrument to a disclosure document, or public offering statement, given to the consumer at the time of purchase. The legislation was signed by Governor Youngkin on March 21 and will take effect July 1.
What This Means for ARDA Members: This legislation made an important update to a 30-year-old requirement that now makes Virginia law consistent with other timeshare regulatory frameworks across the nation from Florida to California. This is important because timeshare instruments are recorded in a locality’s land records and cannot be easily updated, whereas disclosure documents are regularly updated and are the documents most likely reviewed by the timeshare purchaser.
What Changed: The Florida Legislature passed a bill, House Bill 869, which updates laws governing several industries overseen by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, including timeshare. A number of changes were included in the final bill, which ARDA had been pursuing for several years.
Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill on June 9 and it will take effect July 1, clarifying the statute of limitations on a purchaser’s right to cancel a timeshare contract in the event of a violation by a seller by aligning them with other contracts under Florida law. It also allows information describing component site resorts in a multi-site timeshare plan to be delivered to purchasers electronically, and remove a redundant requirement to complete a separate Public Offering statement for a component site resort included as part of a multi-site timeshare plan. Finally, the bill updates provisions related to Incidental Benefits – those which are offered at sale that are not part of the timeshare plan – to expand the value of benefits which may be offered, providing for benefits to be transferable when approved by the benefit provider and streamlining the administrative process required while preserving notice to purchasers.
What This Means for ARDA Members: The changes made by this legislation modernize the way developers are able to deliver information to purchasers, eliminating the volumes of paper that must be provided to consumers today. It also clarifies provisions of the existing law that were previously ambiguous and caused confusion.
2023 Legislative Changes to Protect Individual Timeshare Owners
What Changed: As previously mentioned, ARDA pursued an aggressive legislative package this year consisting of three bills to reform and streamline the registration process in the state. House Bill 11 also includes important changes that affect timeshare owners. This bill minimizes non-material disclosures to consumers as well as the disclosure of non-material liens to be through a website or link in order to prioritize information that is essential to making purchase decisions.
What This Means for Owners: By modernizing state law to allow disclosures to be provided through a website or link, rather than requiring them to be printed, purchasers will be able to review the documents more easily at their leisure without having to leave their vacation with a large stack of papers after a purchase. Additionally, the changes made by this bill will allow closings to be more focused on the things that a person needs to know when purchasing a timeshare. This will ensure that the important things purchasers need to know do not get buried in a larger discussion during a sale.
What Changed: As discussed earlier, the Florida Legislature passed House Bill 869 this session, which includes a number of changes to modernize and clarify the Timeshare Act. The bill has been signed by the governor and upon taking effect July 1 will allow information describing component site resorts in a multi-site timeshare plan to be delivered to purchasers electronically, and remove a redundant requirement to complete a separate Public Offering statement for a component site resort included as part of a multi-site timeshare plan.
What This Means for Owners: Receiving a large packet of paper documents can be cumbersome and onerous for consumers. This legislation modernizes state law so that certain disclosures can now be provided electronically, reducing the number of pages of disclosures and documents consumers receive. This will also help to emphasize essential information to consider when purchasing a timeshare.
In addition to ARDA and ARDA-ROC’s advocacy efforts, great focus is put on education. In the first half of this year, the team has spent considerable time in Florida, working to educate association boards, resort managers, and HOAs on legislation that was passed last year, Senate Bill 40, to make condos safer in the wake of the Surfside condo collapse in 2021, and what can be expected with maintenance fees and inspections moving forward. ARDA also continues to work closely with resort managers to encourage them to get engaged in local and state politics, as they truly are some of the best messengers and advocates for the industry in their respective areas. Finally, the team has been spending time connecting with the regulatory community in states like Florida and California, and building relationships with new regulatory officials in states like Arizona.
So far, 2023 has been a productive year to get things done for timeshare and its owners. As the nation collectively begins to turn its attention to the upcoming presidential election cycle, the ARDA and ARDA-ROC teams will be preparing to ramp up for major legislative pushes again in 2024.