A form of shared property ownership, commonly in vacation or recreation condominium property, in which rights vest in several owners to use property for a specified period each year.
Timeshare ownership of vacation or recreation condominium property is a popular choice for persons who wish to secure a long-term commitment to a particular location. Timesharing is common in Hawaii, Florida, Arizona, Colorado, and Mexico, as well as in certain other popular vacation spots in the United States. When a person signs a contract to purchase a "timeshare," she is agreeing to pay the owner of the property a sum of money for the exclusive right to use or occupy the property for a specified time during the year. One or two weeks is the typical period that may be purchased. Usually, the timeshare agreement is made for improved property, such as a vacation home or a particular unit in a condominium complex.
The form of a timeshare agreement varies. Usually, the person has the right of exclusive use of the unit during the same time each year or other specified period. Each timeshare unit is considered an estate or interest in real property, separate and distinct from all other timeshare estates in the same unit or any other unit. Therefore, estates may be separately conveyed and encumbered.
The cost of purchasing a timeshare depends on the time of year selected; premium prices are charged for the most popular times of the year. The annual maintenance fee for the condominium unit and the annual property taxes are divided proportionally among the timeshare owners. A person who does not plan to use the property during the specified period may rent the timeshare to a third party, but the company managing the property may require that it broker such transactions and receive a fee for the rentals.
Timeshare agreements are affected by various federal and state statutes. States generally require developers of timeshares to file detailed statements that demonstrate compliance with all applicable statutory requirements. For example, states typically require the developer to fully disclose how the project is to be financed and to give examples of all contracts, deeds, fact sheets, and other instruments that will be used in marketing, financing, and conveying timeshare interests. Some states also require information from the developer concerning the management of the project, including a copy of the management agreement, disclosure of any relationship between the developer and the management company, and a statement as to whether the management agent will be bonded or insured.