European media about timeshare today
Experts of the Association “Rustheim” carefully study the experience of developed countries. In today’s publication, leading German publication Deutsche Welle (DW) assesses the growing European interest in timeshare.
Deutsche Welle. Timeshare: budget-friendly resort vacation or cheating?
Timeshare is becoming more and more popular, but this principle has its own peculiarities.
Thousands of Europeans are vacationing at seaside resorts thanks to the timeshare system. But she, as DW found out, is not immune from scammers.
Timeshares are especially widespread in Spain: on the Pyrenean Peninsula, on the Balearic and Canary Islands. We are talking about the so-called “shared real estate”, located mainly in seaside resorts, and about the system of international exchange between its owners – for travel and recreation. In Spain, the timeshare system, based on the right of one of the property owners to use it in the allotted time, appeared in the 70s of the last century.
Clients and their costs
“The system was originally intended for middle-class people,” Valeriano Ramirez, a spokesman for the Spanish Confederation of Hotel and Tourism Owners, told DW. Its essence lies in the fact that one and the same apartment of a residential complex is sold to different people so that they can use it for a certain number of days a year.
“If we sell a two-room apartment worth 120 thousand euros to 26 clients who want to stay in it for two weeks, then each client should receive about 4.6 thousand euros,” Ramirez explained. However, according to him, the costs of the timeshare owner are not limited to this.
Like any other, this property requires maintenance in proper condition, that is, every year its owners have to pay a certain amount: for cleaning common areas and the surrounding area, for maintenance, security, and so on. Well, while on vacation, you have to pay for electricity, water, change of linen and any other services provided by the timeshare management. The latter acts not only as a seller, but also as an administrator of the sold property.
Benefits of timeshare vacation
Another interlocutor of DW, manager of a timeshare company located in the Benalmadena resort area (province of Malaga), Marilus Moreno Diaz, said that her company and many others work on the principle of an international club – they provide clients with the opportunity to relax in different resorts, not only in the real estate they bought …
For example, the owner of a timeshare in the south of Spain can, if desired, relax in the Canaries, Singapore or live in London. This is carried out both within the framework of one timeshare company, which has accommodation in different resorts, and as a result of an exchange between companies from different countries.
In addition, Ramirez and Moreno Diaz argue that “timeshare is better and cheaper than a hotel.” And it’s not just that you don’t have to pay for the stay as such. For example, in an apartment you can cook your own food, saving on restaurants. At two o’clock in the morning you will not be woken up by drunken vacationers from the next room, and from six in the morning children will not start running under your doors, as is often the case in hotels in resorts.
Timeshares were conceived four decades ago as a kind of cooperative property, ”Madrid lawyer Domingo Reyes, who specializes in protecting the interests of owners of this type of property, reminded DW. So, in his words, the activities of timeshares “would have to be constantly monitored by those who invested money in them.” However, Reyes lamented, very soon “timeshares became a profitable business and in some cases ended up in the hands of unscrupulous entrepreneurs, which led to a considerable number of scandals.”
According to the lawyer, some firms resort to fraud for profit: – We are talking about the desire to get for the same apartment an amount that exceeds its market value. It does this by selling timeshares to a lot of people, and often at inflated prices. ” However, the lawyer added, “fraudsters sometimes sell non-existent apartments to clients using forged documents, and then disappear.
The law guards the interests of timeshare owners
In 2008, Domingo Reyes explained, due to the increased incidence of fraud, the European Parliament obliged the member states of the European Union to pass legislation on timeshare. In Spain, a similar law has existed since 1998, and in 2012 it was amended to meet the requirements of the European Parliament.
In accordance with the new version of the law, upon a complaint from customers, the activities of a particular timeshare company become the subject of investigation by law enforcement agencies. “Companies that sell homes to too many clients, for example, tend to fail to meet their obligations to provide vacation time for owners of timeshare property. Hence the complaints, ”says the lawyer.
In mid-July, Spanish police detained 58 people on the island of Gran Canaria (Canary archipelago), who were selling non-existent property. In April, the Valencian court ordered the timeshare firm Gardina to pay ten defrauded clients 204 thousand euros in compensation. And the investigation of the fraudsters in Fuengirola, initiated by 300 British citizens, lasted more than ten years. In 2011, 10 of the 18 members of this fraud group received prison sentences.
Many unpleasant stories, according to Domingo Reyes, happened with the sale of timeshares to Russian citizens.
However, according to the testimony of all three interlocutors of DW, the vast majority of timeshare companies are successfully operating in Spain and in other countries of the world. They work honestly, have earned the trust of customers and are completely reliable. So timeshares can be considered an important component of the structure of international tourism and recreation, Valeriano Ramirez summed up.