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ARDA Government Affairs Team Works Tirelessly to Protect Timeshare & Owners

At the recent Timeshare Board Members Association (TBMA) 2024 Orlando Conference, TBMA President Shep Altshuler was joined by members of the American Resort Development Association’s (ARDA) government affairs team for a session to discuss legislative issues and opportunities related to timeshare in key states across the country. ARDA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel Robert Clements, ARDA Vice President of State Government Affairs Chris Stewart, and ARDA Director of Federal Legislation Kevin Riley provided an overview of the 2023 legislative successes the team helped secure for timeshare owners and the overall timeshare industry, as well as work that is on the agenda for 2024 and beyond.

The session began with Riley explaining the three organizations that fall under the ARDA umbrella. The first organization is ARDA itself, which serves as the trade association for the timeshare and vacation ownership industries. It is the voice of the industry from a public relations and communications standpoint, and it is the only organization whose primary purpose is advocating on behalf of resort developers and timeshare owners at the local, state and federal level. The second organization is the ARDA International Foundation (AIF), which produces a wide range of timeshare industry and timeshare owner research that serves as the basis for the educational resources to help the ARDA government affairs team educate lawmakers about timeshare. The third and final organization is the ARDA Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC), the largest and most established timeshare owner advocacy organization in the world that is working to fight back against overly burdensome laws that restrict timeshare use or attempt to increase the costs of ownership. Riley shared that ARDA-ROC is completely funded through $3-$10 voluntary individual owner contributions.

Stewart and Clements then delved in to recent legislative updates impacting the timeshare industry and owners in various states across the nation.

Florida
The ARDA-ROC government affairs team worked to proactively pass legislation in Florida this year to benefit timeshare associations. The bill, House Bill 429, provides the manager or association of a timeshare property with the right to call law enforcement and trespass someone who is being disruptive, even if they are an owner staying pursuant to their ownership. The bill also gives boards additional flexibility by allowing them to eliminate or make changes to facilities, such as changing a tennis court to a pickleball court, with a supermajority vote of the board. 
 

During the Florida legislative session, the team also had to fight legislation, House Bill 1021, that would have negatively impacted timeshare associations. The bill dealt with a number of measures related to various types of boards, including misconduct by board members and managers, failure to provide records, improper votes and more. Thanks to the work of ARDA-ROC, timeshare associations were exempted from new board member education requirements and provided additional time to turn over records when there is a change in timeshare managers.
 

Looking ahead, ARDA-ROC’s government affairs team has already identified issues to pursue addressing during the next legislative session, scheduled to begin in March 2025, including a requirement for quarterly owners meetings to clarify whether those must be in person or virtual, and additional conflict of interest and bidding requirements for contracts over $2,500, which is a very low level and can impede services provided by community associations.
 

Colorado
This year, a bill, Senate Bill 33, was proposed in the Colorado General Assembly that would have classified all short-term rentals, including timeshare, as commercial property rather than residential. This would have raised the tax rate from less than 7% to more than 25%. ARDA partnered with a variety of interests in the state to defeat that legislation this year. However, it is expected that the issue will be brought up again, so the team continues to closely monitor and work with lawmakers in the state. 
 

ARDA also worked to find solutions to problems that were created by legislation passed several years ago, which resulted in very cumbersome notice requirements in the event an association wanted to foreclose on an owner for liens. ARDA was able to secure timeshare exemptions which were included in House Bill 1233. As a result, associations in Colorado will, among other changes, no longer have to put a physical notice of delinquency on a unit where nobody lives, which caused great delays and additional expenses in foreclosure actions.

Hawaii
Following the devastating fires on the island of Maui, ARDA-ROC has worked with owners, government officials, and the media to help with recovery efforts. While tourism has largely bounced back, the relief efforts left budget shortfalls at the state and local levels. As a result, there were many efforts to increase taxes and fees assessed to timeshare owners and visitors in general. However, ARDA-ROC successfully worked to oppose all the increases, including recent local efforts to increase property taxes.

Virginia
There were several measures proposed in the Virginia General Assembly this year that would have negatively impacted timeshare associations, but the ARDA-ROC government relations team was able to work to keep those from passing. House Bill 880 and Senate Bill 341 would have essentially prohibited foreclosures on assessment liens in timeshare, as it would have required a total of $5,000 in accumulated unpaid assessments during a period of three years before a foreclosure could occur. Another piece of legislation that was considered, House Bill 918, would have required taking back a timeshare interest, but after working with and educating the bill sponsor on the impacts, the bill was withdrawn from consideration. 


The team also worked to proactively pass legislation, House Bill 1241, related to partial termination. Thanks to this bill being passed, resorts in Virginia can now terminate one of its buildings, allowing it to be taken out of the timeshare plan.

Continued Advocacy & Education
Year after year, as seasoned lawmakers rise to new positions of power and new ones are elected, the ARDA-ROC government affairs team continues to work tirelessly to ensure they are all educated on the timeshare industry, its positive economic impacts and the issues affecting owners looking to enjoy their timeshare purchase. This work is made possible through the funds owners contribute to ARDA-ROC, which allows the team to build relationships and more effectively track and influence legislation across all 50 states. To learn more about ARDA-ROC and how to join, visit arda-roc.org.

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