We recently received the following submission from one of our users regarding their timeshare property at Orange Lake Resort and Country Club in Florida:
“We bought our timeshare 21 years ago and used it to exchange vacations in other resorts. It was a good experience but now that my wife has passed away and I am older, trying to unload the resort proves difficult. I am willing to surrender my title to the resort but the warranty deed does not say a word about releasing me from all obligations; I have to take their word that after the title reverts to the resort they will close the account and I will have no obligations. Anyone have any thoughts or comments about this predicament?”
Here we will discuss the concept of deedbacks–signing the deed of your timeshare property back over to its owner, relieving you of any ownership rights, fees, and other obligations. If you no longer want your timeshare and have been unable to sell or donate it, deeding it back to the resort may be an option, but only under a special set of circumstances.
You first must determine if your timeshare is deeded or leased. A deeded timeshare binds you to the contract as an exclusive owner, while a leased timeshare means you are only the owner for a certain number of years. If you have a leased timeshare, you may not be able to get out of it until the lease expires, but always check with your contract for details.
Perhaps one of the most important things to understand about a deedback program is that the recipient of the property (in this case, the resort) must be willing to accept it and give you permission to deed it back. You cannot deedback your property to an unwilling recipient. If you attempt to do so by signing a quit claim deed to the resort owner without permission, it will not be considered a legal transaction and you will still be liable for paying the maintenance fees.
To qualify for a deedback, most resorts require that all maintenance and special assessment fees are paid in full; they generally will not accept if you are behind in fees or have a mortgage on the property. Even if you are up to date on all your payments, it is not uncommon for the resort to refuse a deedback, in part because so many people are taking advantage of this option. But there’s only one way to find out if the resort will accept a deedback: you have to ask!
Be aware that you may need to dedicate some time to being on the phone until you reach the appropriate person to talk to, which is usually not the first person to pick up the phone. Stay focused and calm during this process. If the resort refuses to accept a deedback, you may be able to sell it back to them for a fraction of the timeshare’s market value. Again, just ask. It might not be the most ideal option, but it’s probably better than spending thousands more dollars on a property you don’t use or want.