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Can I Use My Timeshare Whenever I Want?

Can I Use My Timeshare Whenever I Want? The Answer Might Surprise You

You might encounter a few available timeshare options when shopping for a vacation property. After all, despite its many flaws, the timeshare industry offers some popular types of vacation ownership —one being a right-to-use timeshare. You've come to the right place to learn more about this particular option. Below, we'll discuss what right-to-use timeshares are, how they work, and the pros and cons of owning one.


Timeshare units allow annual vacations under fractional ownership agreements. With most of these resorts, you buy the right to use a specific unit for a particular week each year. One shared property can have up to fifty-two owners. And since you own a fraction of the timeshare property, you only pay a fraction of the cost.

Find out more about how timeshare units work here.

How much does a timeshare cost?

Timeshares often sound like a good deal until finances come into the picture. These resort salespeople brag about the long-term savings they provide clients. Still, timeshares are by no means cheap. While prices vary based on location, time of year, and unit size, most require a significant initial payment along with future expenses. 

According to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), studies show the average timeshare interval cost is more than $22,000, and the annual maintenance fees are $1,000.


Not all timeshare owner agreements are the same. You can either purchase or lease from a timeshare management company. These two ownerships are known as deeded timeshares and right-to-use timeshares. Each type has its differences in benefits and privileges.


Deeded timeshare ownership is similar to traditional real estate ownership. You own a percentage of the property with a deeded timeshare agreement. Upon purchasing, you should receive a title deed detailing your ownership interest. A deeded ownership timeshare is often written in perpetuity, meaning you own it indefinitely unless resold or willed to someone else. Those rights fall under deeded timeshare agreements.


Non-deeded, or right-to-use (RTU), timeshares work differently. Rather than owning real property, you lease from a timeshare developer for a time period like you would personal property. Therefore, you don't "own" the timeshare but have the "right to use" it until the agreement's expiration date. With RTU timeshares, consumers don't receive a title deed and have restrictions on some ownership rights, such as being able to sell or rent.


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Right-to-use timeshares differ from deeded timeshares and often are not considered real estate. With an RTU timeshare purchase, you agree to retain the ownership for a set period of time before transferring it back to resort developers. These timeshare lease agreements last anywhere between 20 and 100 years.

Once the lease agreement reaches its expiration date, you no longer have the right to use the property. However, it also means you are no longer responsible for further expenses. With deeded timeshares, owners can often end up in poor financial situations because extra expenses (such as the timeshare maintenance fee, special assessments, and taxes) are perpetual. With RTU timeshares, having a designated time can prevent more debt.


As with any vacation ownership, there will be advantages and disadvantages. Below are a few features for RTU timeshares that make them stand out in both regards:

What are the benefits of owning a timeshare? 

  • Lower purchase price: Since an RTU timeshare isn't a perpetual agreement, it often gets listed at a lower price than a deeded timeshare. However, the upfront cost can also be based on the timeshare location.
  • A more flexible timeshare option: Compared to a fixed week or floating week system with deeded ownership, RTU properties are generally points-based timeshares and offer more flexibility. With points, owners can choose from various locations and dates for each travel trip.
  • No lifetime commitments: With a predetermined end date, RTU timeshare owners know when they can stop paying annual maintenance fees. A guaranteed exit strategy like this is beneficial for week timeshares as they're notorious for being difficult to cancel. A deeded agreement means you pay maintenance costs on a timeshare for life, making this the most significant difference between the two types of ownership.

What are the drawbacks of owning a timeshare?

  • A temporary home resort: While RTU timeshare agreements typically last over ten years, they won't go on forever. Once it expires, you no longer have an ownership stake in the property. If you seek a vacation spot as an investment, look elsewhere.
  • Restrictions on ownership rights: RTU timeshare owners may not have the same rights as deeded ownership. That could mean not being able to sell, rent, or will the timeshare to another estate as you possess it temporarily.
  • Often found in international resort locations: Many timeshare companies offer RTU agreements, but most often, they're found where U.S. citizens cannot purchase deeded timeshare properties.
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What if I can't use my timeshare one year?

Regardless, if you cannot use your timeshare one particular year, you are still required to pay the annual maintenance fees. Alas, a few options are available if you find yourself in this unfortunate usage situation. For example, renting out your timeshare to another party is one way to recoup some lost expenses. Or some resorts offer exchange programs that allow owners to change dates or locations for their routine visits. 

If you find yourself in a situation where you do not want to use your timeshare accommodations anymore, it may be time to consider listing it in the resale market for a new owner or hiring a timeshare exit company. 

What Happens If I Stop Paying My Timeshare Fees?

If you stop paying your timeshare fees, you will eventually lose ownership of the space. The timeshare company will most likely send you a notice or letter informing you that you are behind on your payments and need to catch up. The message will state the amount of money you owe and how many missed payments. It will also inform you of the consequences of not catching up on your payments, which may include legal action. 

If you cannot make your payments on time, you may be subject to late fees, interest, and other penalties. In some cases, you might get taken to court. Keep in mind that staying current on your payments is essential to avoid any adverse consequences resulting from not doing so.


Alas, the biggest downside to timeshares is they seldom become a worthwhile deal for most people. Considering all the vacation options available (i.e., stay in a hotel room, rent a condo, or become a travel club member), timeshares are not often worth it. 

If you, your family, or your friends purchased a so-called perfect timeshare that did not turn out as expected, Wesley Financial Group, LLC ("WFG") might be able to help you find a way out of it! Since 2011, WFG has helped cancel over 16,000 people who got misled by a timeshare presentation salesperson. 

Check out what past clients who share their stories have said, and schedule a free consultation today to learn more about their termination services that are shaking up the timeshare industry. For more information, contact a WFG representative at the number below.


*Wesley Financial Group, LLC, and its affiliates, successors, or assigns are not lawyers or a law firm and do not engage in the practice of law or provide legal advice or legal representation. All information, software, services, and comments provided on this site are for informational and self-help purposes only and not intended to substitute for professional advice, legal or otherwise.

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