The world of timeshare is full of very specific terms that might be confusing to anyone not within the industry. In our constant quest to keep things clear and simple, we’ve put together this, rather exhaustive, two part blog on the A to Z of timeshare jargon you might come across. Let us know if you think we’ve missed anything that we should add in!
Leisure Charge: Sometimes charged in addition to your maintenance fees for the use of leisure facilities at the resort. These are those which are shared with other guests and members.
Levy: This is a charge usually made to members of a timeshare points club in order to pay for club admin. It’s payable in addition to maintenance fees and other charges that might be made for the use of your timeshare week. A Levy may also refer to a one-off charge by the Owners’ Club or Management company in order to pay any major or unexpected costs.
Like for Like: Most Exchange Companies offer an exchange of similar quality and popularity to that which has been put into the exchange bank.
Linked Agreement: Beware of Linked Agreements, which exist as a method of circumventing the laws related to the taking of deposits. The salesperson may make it seem that two agreements (i.e. the Timeshare Purchase Agreement and some sort of extra holiday scheme or voucher) are unrelated, but this is not the case and breaches the law.
Lock off: An accommodation unit that can be divided into two independent units that each have their own access.
Maintenance Fees: Sometimes called ‘Management Fees’, these are the annual fees that are paid by the timeshare member to cover the day-to-day running costs of the resort.
Management Company: Usually owned or controlled by the resort Developer, the Management Company is contracted to carry out the day-to-day management of the resort for which you pay your maintenance fees.
Marketing Company: The Marketing Company is, as the name suggests, responsible for marketing and is separate from the Developer. Though the Developer may handle the on-site marketing, they probably employ a separate Marketing Company to manage any marketing that goes on elsewhere, such as online or at other resorts or locations.
Occupancy Size: The Occupancy Size of a unit refers to the number of individuals that can use the unit. Usually comprised of two numbers, the first number is the total capacity of the unit when allowing for additional beds etc. The second number is for the number of people that can have total privacy (private access to bathroom and so on), which more realistically represents the occupancy size of the unit.
OPC (Off Premises Contact): An OPC is a salesperson whose job it is to get people to attend a sales presentation using the Cold Line method from premises away from the resort itself.
OTE: Now the RDO (Resort Development Organisation), the trade body for timeshare was previously called OTE, the Organisation For Timeshare In Europe.
Owners’ Club: All timeshare resorts have an Owners’ Club, to which all timeshare members at the resort belong. Sometimes the Owners’ Club is a company, but is generally just a Members’ Club.
Ownership Certificate: This Certificate confirms your right to use or the title to the property. It may also be referred to as a Holiday Certificate or Timeshare Certificate.
Patrimonio: Spanish term for ‘Wealth Tax’
Perpetuity: The word in itself means ‘forever’, which gives you some idea of what it means when it shows up in your timeshare contract. It is now illegal for a timeshare contract to exceed a maximum of fifty years.
Plus valia tax: Spanish version of Capital Gains Tax
Points Clubs: As a member of a timeshare Points Club, you hold points which entitle you to use a certain period in a unit each year from a set choice of resorts. There has been some controversy over Points Clubs in recent years, and in many cases they are being ruled to be illegal.
Private Residence/Vacation Club: Another way of saying Fractional Ownership.
Property Bonds: Similar to Points Clubs, Property Bonds are a system for owning shares or bonds in a company that owns timeshare properties.
Qualified prospect: A Qualified Prospect is a term used by developers and timeshare marketers to describe consumers of the general demographic most likely to buy timeshare. This comprises factors such as the consumer’s income, marital status, homeowner status, and age.
Recourse Agreement: This is an agreement between a Developer and a Finance Company where the Developer pays of outstanding debts if the consumer with the finance agreement defaults.
Red week: Like Amber and Blue Weeks, a Red Week is the name given to weeks at certain times of year. For more info, see Season.
Repossession: The Club or Management Company can remove your rights to use for breaching the Constitution. This usually occurs as a result of non-payment of Maintenance Fees. These rights will then be sold to cover the debt. Repossession cannot occur on Deeded property.
Resale Brokers/Agents or Resellers: These are companies whose business is to either buy timeshare weeks from existing owners for the purpose of selling them on to new owners, or to act as agents that put sellers and buyers in contact to facilitate a timeshare sale. They make money, usually, by charging commission on the sale.
Resort Development Organisation “RDO”: Previously the OTE, the RDO is the trade body that governs timeshare.
Right to Use: This is the legal term for the licence granted by Trustees to a timeshare holder.
Sales Inspection Visit (‘SIV’): A term used by Developers for prospective buyers to stay at a resort for a few days at a low fee, on condition they attend a sales presentation.Though there’s no obligation to buy, the SIV is a promotional tool to encourage a purchase. See also Fly-Buy
Season: Weeks in a year are divided into different segments by Exchange Companies, usually signified by a colour (see Amber Weeks, Blue Weeks, and Red Weeks). Amber Weeks are sometimes known as ‘White Weeks’, Blue Weeks are off-peak times and are sometimes also called ‘Green Weeks’. Each segment represents different levels of trading power and monetary value based on the season’s popularity.
Sinking Fund: A Sinking Fund or Sink Fund is a portion of your Maintenance Fee that is dedicated to keeping the furniture, fittings, main structure, and sometimes the leisure facilities of the resort in perfect condition for the full period of your membership.
Space banking: Depositing a week of timeshare with an Exchange Company. See also Banking.
SPIFF: Special Incentive Bonus For Future Sales, or SPIFF for short, is a commission payment sometimes received by timeshare salespeople as an incentive to sell.
Timeshare Directive: A European Parliament order to all nation states within the EU to implement Timeshare laws
Timeshare Interval: The period for which you are permitted to use your timeshare unit.
Trading power: The Trading Power of a timeshare week refers to its value. It’s used by Exchange Companies to ascertain what equivilant exchange unit and resort you can be offered in exchange for your own. This is influenced by factors such as the size of your unit, the popularity of your timeshare week, the quality or star rating of the resort, and the popularity of the resort itself.
Trustees: Timeshare Trustees can be a bank, a group of individuals, or a Trust company that holds the accommodation in trust on behalf of the timeshare holders. It is they who grant you the Right to Use through the Ownership Certificate. Some have added responsibilities, like ensuring the continuity of the Owners’ Club, but all Trustees have the role of providing security to owners should the developer go bust.
Warm Line: Unlike Cold Line, the Warm Line sales team work to make sales of timeshare to visitors and existing timeshare holders staying at the resort.
Week 53: Of course, there are only 52 weeks in a year. However, based on the timeshare calendar, every seven years or so, a 53rd week comes up. This is generally reserved for the Developer or Founders.
White week: See Season