FAQ’s and answers are provided to the public for quick reference to commonly asked questions. They are not to be considered legal advice. If you are conducting legal research or your question arises as a result of litigation, you should consult with an attorney or refer to the latest edition of the Florida Statutes. For your convenience, we have grouped together questions with similar subject areas. Please choose one of the following subject areas:
What filing requirements are necessary prior to offering a timeshare plan?
Prior to offering any timeshare plan, the developer must submit a registered public offering statement to the division for approval. Additionally, the developer must establish an escrow account with an escrow agent for the purpose of protecting the funds of purchasers. Cite: Sections 721.03, 721.07 and 721.08(1), F.S. and Rule 61B-39, F.A.C.
What are the fees for filing a timeshare plan?
Upon the filing of a public offering statement, the developer must pay a filing fee of $2 for each 7 days of annual use availability in each timeshare unit that may be offered as a part of the proposed timeshare plan. Cite: Section 721.07(4)(a), F.S.
What information is provided by the division to assist with the initial filing of a timeshare plan?
The Division will provide a Timeshare Filing Packet that contains pertinent statutes and rules, required forms, and other helpful materials. This packet may be obtained by calling the Tallahassee office at 850.488.1122 or by visiting the Forms page linked to our website. Cite: None
How long is the approval process for a timeshare plan?
Within 45 days after receipt by the Division’s Tallahassee office of the registered public offering statement, or within 120 days in the case of a multisite timeshare plan, the Division will notify the developer in writing of either approval or specified deficiencies. The developer is required to respond to the deficiency notice within 20 days of receipt of the deficiency notice. The Division will then respond within 20 days after receipt of the developer’s response to any deficiency notice. This process occurs until the filing is approved, withdrawn, or rejected. Cite: Section 721.07(2), F.S.
What if there is a change to the approved public offering statement?
Any change to an approved public offering statement must be filed as an amendment with the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes. The amendment shall be deemed effective upon written approval by the Division. Upon filing the amendment, other than an amendment adding a phase to the timeshare plan, the developer must pay a filing fee of $100. Cite: Section 721.07(4)(b), F.S.
Can a developer accept reservations on a timeshare plan prior to filing a public offering statement?
Yes. A seller may accept reservation deposits upon approval by the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes of a fully executed escrow agreement and reservation agreement. Cite: Section 721.09, F.S.
Does advertising material relating to a timeshare plan need to be filed with the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes?
All prize and gift promotional advertising material relating to a timeshare plan must be filed with the Division by the developer prior to use, along with a $100 filing fee. Other advertising may be filed for a complimentary review, if desired. All timeshare advertising material must be in compliance with Chapter 721, Florida Statutes. Cite: Sections 721.11, F.S., 721.111, F.S., and Rule 61B-37.004, F.A.C.
Is the timeshare managing entity or association allowed to collect real estate taxes in advance?
Yes. The managing entity is considered the taxpayer, as agent of the timeshare owners. The Florida Vacation Plan and Timesharing Act does not bar associations from collecting estimated real estate taxes in advance. Cite: Sections 192.037 and 721.13(3)(i), F.S.
Does the developer have to pay the same maintenance fees on the timeshare interests that he owns that I have to pay on my timeshare week?
Yes, unless the developer has been excused from the payment of its share of the common expenses which would have been assessed against its timeshare periods during a stated period of time during which it has guaranteed to each purchaser in the timeshare instrument documents, or by agreement between the developer and a majority of the owners of timeshare periods, that the assessment for common expenses imposed upon the owners would not increase over a stated dollar amount. In the event of such a guarantee, the developer is obligated to pay all common expenses incurred during the guarantee period in excess of the total revenues of the timeshare plan. Cite: Sections 721.15(1)–(2), F.S.
Why do I have to pay maintenance fees to upkeep the pool, playground, and tennis courts when I personally do not use these facilities at the timeshare resort?
The pool, playground, and tennis courts are common elements created for the benefit of all owners. Regardless of whether you use these facilities or not, you are obligated by your timeshare documents to contribute to their maintenance, and possible replacement, in the same manner as everyone else. Cite: Section 721.15, F.S.
What is the difference between the timeshare developer and the association?
The developer is the person or entity that creates the timeshare plan and sells the timeshare interests to purchasers. The association is the managing entity made up of owners and their elected board of administration. The association is responsible for operation of the timeshare accommodations and facilities. Cite: Sections 721.05(10) and (27), F.S.
What are some of the responsibilities of the managing entity?
The managing entity is responsible for management and maintenance of all accommodations and facilities making up the timeshare plan; collection of assessments; providing the annual budget to purchasers; maintenance of all books and records concerning the timeshare plan; arranging for an annual audit of the financial statements of the timeshare plan; and making the books and records available to the Division of Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes for inspection. (See section 721.13, Florida Statutes, for additional information.) Cite: Sections 721.13(3)(a) – (j), F.S.
As an owner, am I entitled to access to the financial records of the timeshare plan?
Yes. Florida law provides that the managing entity provide to you a copy of the annual budget each year, and make the annual audit available to you upon request. Additionally, as an owner you have a right to inspect the books and records of the timeshare plan at any reasonable time, under reasonable conditions, and under the supervision of the custodian of records. Your request for access should be made to the managing entity or association. Cite: Section 721.13(3)(d), Florida Statutes
Is the timeshare association or managing entity required to give me a list of all owners of timeshare weeks in my resort?
No. The managing entity may not publish the owner list or provide a copy of it to any purchaser or to any third party, other than the Division, unless the purchaser whose name and address are requested first approves the disclosure in writing. Cite: Section 721.13(3)(d)4, Florida Statutes
Can the timeshare managing entity deny the use of accommodations to purchasers?
Yes. The managing entity may deny use to any purchaser who is delinquent in the payment of any assessments for common expenses or ad valorem real estate taxes. Cite: Section 721.13(6), Florida Statutes
What percentage of voting interests is required to make a quorum at a meeting of the members of a timeshare owners’ association?
Unless the articles of incorporation, the bylaws, or the provisions of Chapter 721, Florida Statutes, provide for a higher quorum requirement, the percentage of voting interests required to constitute a quorum at a meeting of the members of a timeshare owners’ association is 15 percent of the voting interests. Cite: Section 721.13(7), Florida Statutes
My resort requires me to call in and make a reservation. How can that be when I bought a week there already?
There are different types of ownership involved in timeshare plans. You need to review your documents for the rules and regulations for using your week, and to determine what you have purchased. If you have bought a “fixed” week, chances are you have a deed for a particular week in a particular unit, and you will use the same week every year without any reservation required. If you have bought a “floating” week, you probably have to make a reservation each year, and are able to visit the resort at different times of the year. Cite: None
I purchased my timeshare interest because I was told that I could exchange it to stay at resorts all around the world. Why can’t I get the reservations I need to do that?
If you decide to join one of the many exchange companies that make it possible for you to vacation in different locations, you need to carefully review the material that the exchange company provides to you. This material gives a description of the procedure to qualify for and effectuate exchanges, as well as a description of all limitations, restrictions, or priorities used in the operation of the exchange program (i.e., seasonality, unit size, and/or occupancy level). Cite: Section 721.18, Florida Statutes
What are my cancellation rights concerning my recent timeshare plan purchase?
A purchaser has the right to cancel the timeshare contract until midnight of the 10th calendar day following whichever of the following days occurs later: (a) The execution date; or (b) The day on which the purchaser received the last of all documents required to be provided to him or her, including the notice required by section 721.07(2)(d)2., Florida Statutes, if applicable. We recommend that the purchaser employ a method of delivery of the cancellation request that provides proof of the date upon which the developer received the request, such as certified mail (return receipt requested) or some other method of delivery which uses a tracking system. Upon such cancellation, the developer must refund to the purchaser the total amount of all payments made by the purchaser under the contract, reduced by the proportion of any contract benefits the purchaser has actually received under the contract prior to the effective date of the cancellation, as required by section 721.06, Florida Statutes. Such refund must be made within 20 days of demand therefore by the purchaser or within 5 days after receipt of funds from the purchaser’s cleared check, whichever is later. Cite: Section 721.10, Florida Statutes
I want to sell my timeshare week that I own at a resort located in Florida. Does Florida law apply to the manner in which I sell it?
Yes. Florida law requires that sellers use a resale purchase agreement that complies with the requirements of section 721.065, Florida Statutes. That section requires that resale agreements contain certain disclosures to the buyer concerning the current amount of annual assessments, property taxes, delinquent assessments, and late charges (if any), the first year in which the purchaser may use the timeshare, as well as a 10-day contract cancellation period. Failure to include the required language in the resale contract automatically makes the contract voidable at the option of the purchaser for a period of one year after the date of closing. Cite: Section 721.065, Florida Statutes
I have been contacted by several companies that promise they can sell my timeshare week for me. What does the law provide regarding these companies?
Florida law was amended, effective July 1, 2012, to address the reselling of Florida timeshares. Companies that provide these services are called Resale Service Providers and are classified as either Resale Brokers or Resale Advertisers. The law provides a certain level of consumer protection. Most important of which is how and under what circumstances a Resale Service Provider can collect money from a prospective timeshare reseller. The one thing to remember before entering into any contractual agreement is that reselling a timeshare can be a difficult prospect. If an offer or promise sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have additional questions, please contact us at 1.850.488.1122 or email us at http://www.myfloridalicense.com/contactus/. Cite: Section 721.205, Florida Statutes
What is arbitration and how does it differ from mediation?
Effective 1992, Section 718.1255, Florida Statutes, required arbitration of certain condominium disputes as an alternative to court litigation and also authorized mediation of such disputes. Arbitration is an alternative to a court proceeding where a neutral third person, called an arbitrator, considers the facts and arguments presented by the parties and renders a decision. An arbitration proceeding may involve a hearing if there are disputed issues. If a hearing is held, each party is given an opportunity to present evidence through witnesses and exhibits. If there are no disputed issues, the arbitrator will generally decide the case based on the assertions in the petition for arbitration, the answer, and the applicable law. Mediation, on the other hand, means a process whereby a neutral third person, called a mediator, acts to encourage and facilitate the voluntary settlement of a dispute between two or more parties. It is an informal and non-adversarial process with the objective of helping the disputing parties reach a mutually acceptable and voluntary agreement. In mediation, the decision-making authority rests with the parties. The role of the mediator includes, but is not limited to, assisting the parties in identifying issues, fostering joint problem-solving and exploring settlement alternatives.
What is the cost of arbitration?
For condominium and cooperative disputes, a petition must be accompanied by a $50.00 filing fee. You should also be aware that if you lose in arbitration you may have to pay the other side’s attorney’s fees and costs.
Where do I file an arbitration petition, answer or other pleadings?
The arbitration program’s jurisdiction is limited. Therefore, any party who is in doubt as to whether a controversy falls within the jurisdiction of the arbitration program may file a request for expedited determination of jurisdiction by filing a completed DBPR form ARB96-004, REQUEST FOR EXPEDITED DETERMINATION OF JURISDICTION along with a completed Mandatory Non-Binding Petition – DBPR Form ARB 6000-001 The $50.00 filing fee must accompany the request.
Where do I find Mandatory Non-Binding Arbitration forms?
All arbitration forms may be found at the Educational Materials Page for condominium arbitration. The arbitration forms may also be obtained by writing: Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, Arbitration Section, 2601 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1030.
What if I am not sure if the disagreement I have falls within the jurisdiction of the arbitration program?
Petitions, answers, and other pleadings must be filed with the arbitration section at the following address: Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, Arbitration Section, Capital Commerce Center, 2601 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1030. Filings may also be made by facsimile at 850.487.0870. However, it should be noted that any facsimile received after 5:00 p.m. local time will be considered to have been received the next business day. It should also be noted, that a copy of any document filed with the arbitrator must be provided to the other party other party’s representative (if the party has an attorney or other representative) and the document must state that a copy has been provided to the other party or party’s representative. If a case number has been assigned to the case, any document filed should include the case number.
How do I communicate with the arbitrator?
A party may communicate in writing with the arbitrator. If a party wishes to speak to an arbitrator, the party may request in writing that a case management conference be held at which all parties are present. If the arbitrator finds that a case management conference is merited, an order will be issued directing the parties to attend the conference. However, no party or person interested in the arbitration proceeding or party representative may communicate with the arbitrator or member of the Department verbally or in writing in the absence of all other parties. Such a communication is called an ex parte communication. Additionally, every document filed must contain a certificate of service, stating that a copy has been provided to the opposing parties and the date and method by which it was provided. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that there are no contacts with the arbitrator without notice to the other party or the attorney for the other party. The rule also ensures that each party has a complete record of all documents filed in the case. Any communications or documents, by parties or nonparties, that do not comply with these requirements are subject to being stricken and not considered by the arbitrator. Parties shall not attempt to engage in ex parte communication with the arbitrator by directly contacting the arbitrator or indirectly by contacting other employees of the Department in person, by telephone, facsimile, or e-mail. The arbitrator functions as an impartial judge and, therefore, the arbitrator and arbitration staff are prohibited from providing the parties legal advice or other guidance. If a party does not understand the arbitration process, the party should consult an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Florida.
I am not a party to the arbitration proceeding, but wish to file a communication with the arbitrator?
Only the parties or their representatives may file pleadings, motions or other communications with the arbitrator. Anything filed by a non-party will be stricken and not considered by the arbitrator.
Do I need an attorney in order to participate in arbitration?
No. A party may be represented by an attorney, may represent him or herself, or may be represented by a qualified representative. If a party wants to be represented by a qualified representative, he or she must file with the arbitrator a completed DBPR form ARB96-002, QUALIFIED REPRESENTATIVE APPLICATION. Based on the information provided on the completed form, and based on the response to any inquiries made by the arbitrator concerning the applicant’s familiarity and understanding of the statute and rules applicable to the proceeding, the arbitrator will determine whether the prospective representative is authorized and qualified to appear in the arbitration proceeding and capable of representing the rights and interests of the party.
Where may I find information regarding recall of the member(s) of the board of directors?
Recall Procedures from A to Z: A Beginner’s Guide provides basic information regarding recalls. A copy of the guide may be obtained by writing: Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes, Arbitration Section, 2601 Blair Stone Road, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1030.
I have questions regarding a homeowner's association arbitration?
Information regarding the homeowner’s association arbitration program may be found at Homeowners’ Associations Arbitration Webpage.
INFORMATION ON THE ARBITRATION SECTION’S WEB PAGES IS BEING PROVIDED AS A GENERAL REFERENCE RESOURCE AND IS NOT INTENDED TO SERVE AS LEGAL ADVICE. DEPARTMENT STAFF ARE NOT PERMITTED TO PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE, ADVISE PERSONS AS TO WHETHER THEY SHOULD PURSUE LEGAL ACTION, OR INTERPRET THE RESOURCES PROVIDED ON THE ARBITRATION SECTION’S WEBPAGE. IF AFTER REVIEWING THE RESOURCES ON THE ARBITRATION SECTION’S WEB PAGES, YOU STILL HAVE QUESTIONS REGARDING YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS OR A LEGAL ISSUE, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT YOU CONSULT AN ATTORNEY. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW OR WHERE TO FIND AN ATTORNEY, YOU MAY WISH TO CONSULT THE FLORIDA BAR’S ATTORNEY REFERRAL SERVICE web page or by calling 1-800-342-8011.
All requests for publications, documents, forms, applications for licenses, permits and other similar certifications can be obtained by contacting the Customer Contact Center.
Boyd McAdams, Director
Division of Florida Condominiums,
Timeshares, and Mobile Homes
2601 Blair Stone Road
Tallahassee, FL 32399