For many doomsayers, maintenance fees are the dirty words of both timeshare and condo ownership; consequently, there are many negative myths surrounding the topic, which stem in the main from ignorance or from having the misfortune of dealing with a bogus timeshare company.
When dealing with established, reputable timeshare companies, the most important thing to consider when addressing the issue of maintenance fees is that they are first and foremost an essential part of your long term investment in the property. Maintenance fees cover the costs associated with the operation, decoration, cleaning, repairs and improvements to your unit as well as the common areas such as the pool and club house etc. The fees also add to an account that is destined for non-recurring expenses like kitchen appliances or larger pieces of furniture, which do not need to be replaced regularly. These charges are not intended to generate profit for the developer or homeowners’ association but rather to safeguard the quality of your experience when you visit your property, and thus protect your investment.
Another point to mention is that yearly maintenance fees resolve the issue of your responsibility for repairs and upkeep. It is much more convenient and, indeed, practical for all the owners to share the cost rather than take on the task of organizing the maintenance independently.
Maintenance fees are also compulsory. If you stop paying your maintenance fees you are likely to get into serious legal hot water or receive expensive penalties. This is to protect all the other owners who are contributing to the maintenance of the property. In the case of being unable to pay the fees, the best thing to do is contact the timeshare company. Depending on your terms of agreement, the property may be repossessed if you do not keep up with your fees, although that would depend on your particular contract.
Finally, like any service, your maintenance fees will increase over time. It is unrealistic to expect that you will still be paying the same amount in ten years time. However, these increments should reflect inflation and local price increases. Occasionally you may also be required to pay extra to cover your share of unexpected repairs, such as those provoked by rare circumstances like a storm or water damage.
The best advice is to purchase a timeshare with a reputable company who have a good track record when it comes to reasonable maintenance fee rates. Usually, the best options are the larger, established timeshare companies who have a prestigious reputation at stake. But remember, in life, you get what you pay for.