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Timeshare rentals are a hybrid of property ownership and renting. They involve a property being “owned” by multiple people, each of whom has the exclusive right to use the property during a specified period. Timeshare rentals are particularly popular for properties in vacation resorts. Whoever owns the timeshare for a particular property at a particular time has several options each year, including taking a vacation at the property. They can also sell the right to use the property during that time, either through an agency or a private sale.
There are two main varieties of timeshare rentals, which have important legal differences. A deeded timeshare is where whoever has the timeshare for a particular week is the legal owner of the relevant share of the property. This means they can buy and sell the timeshare outright rather than merely the right to use it in a particular year. However, it does also mean they are legally liable for the relevant share of any property taxes.
A “right to use” timeshare only covers a fixed number of years. At the end of this time, the timeshare “owners” will lose any rights to use the property. This can make it much harder to buy and sell the timeshare as its value diminishes every year. As the timeshare owners do not technically own any share of the property itself, this type of timeshare is popular with foreign properties where local laws make it difficult or impossible for non-citizens to own property.
Several agencies now exist to allow the exchange of timeshare rentals. This involves somebody who has the timeshare for a particular property exchanging the right to visit it with the owner of a timeshare covering the same period at a different location. Such schemes allow timeshare owners to visit a wider variety of properties across the years without much added expense. In some cases, one party may pay some money to the other party, for example where one property or location is considered higher value than the other. In most exchange schemes, somebody who gets another property in an exchange must vacation there themselves rather than rent it out to a third party.
When considering timeshare rentals, it can be difficult to work out whether you are getting a good value. On the surface, it can appear that the annual cost works out much cheaper than staying in an equivalent hotel. However, this must be offset against the loss of flexibility as owners are tied down to a particular vacation destination year after year unless they are able to exchange or sell off the right to use a property in a particular year. There is also an element of a gamble in that the costs of visiting a property may vary from year to year, for example if competition on a particular flight route changes or if there are major currency exchange rate fluctuations.