Maintenance Fees Explained

Purchasing timeshare is a wonderful opportunity to invest in quality holidays at today’s prices. But to safeguard those holiday accommodations against the wear and tear of time and ensure that they are always fresh, modern, and inviting when you arrive – ongoing maintenance and refurbishment is required.

There is, however, sometimes confusion around what the maintenance fees are used for and why paying them is not optional.

Quite simply – like a house, townhouse or apartment – there are costs associated with the upkeep of a timeshare / shared vacation property. But unlike your home, timeshare provides you with a way to share those costs with other owners, making it significantly lower than owning a holiday home yourself.

Whether you buy conventional timeshare (which is owning the rights to a specific unit in either a fixed, floating or flexi week arrangement) or whether you buy points from a Holiday Club to redeem for holidays at different resorts – maintenance fees will always apply. This covers the refurbishment, upkeep of the resort amenities, onsite staffing, maintained grounds, building maintenance and security.

Interestingly, a Grant Thornton industry survey conducted on behalf of VOASA, revealed that 86% of timeshare owners in South Africa based their purchase decision on the affordability of the ongoing maintenance costs.

The annual levy (maintenance fees) is determined according to the size, location and amenities of the resort and are agreed to each year at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Homeowners Association. As the homeowner’s association is a registered NPO, there is no profit earned from levies. The cost breakdown as to how the levies will be spent are also included in the AGM approved budget, which owners are able to review.

Let’s take a look at some of the common questions people have about maintenance fees:

What are the benefits of maintenance fees?
Finding the balance between affordability and quality in today’s tough economic climate is essential to maintain the value of the timeshare property. Without maintenance fees, your timeshare accommodation would still have the 1980’s décor and furnishing! Maintenance fees keep timeshare properties fresh and modern and protect them from the wear and tear caused over time. These fees give you the peace of mind that while you are not there, someone else is looking after your unit and the common areas of the resort to make sure that they are kept perfect for your arrival – all you have to do is show up.

What do maintenance fees cover?
Your maintenance fees include cleaning, repairs, improvements, refurbishments and the general operation of the property and its common areas – generally anything that is required to maintain timeshare properties. Usually, a percentage of the fees contribute to a fund that covers infrequent replacements like kitchen appliances or one-off repairs.

Why do the fees increase?
Like any service or product, prices rise and labour costs increase – therefore your maintenance fees will increment to meet those expenses.

Is it compulsory to pay maintenance fees?
To protect all owners, you are legally bound to pay your share of the upkeep and maintenance whether you use the timeshare or not. Remember that when there are a defaulters, your holiday resort will very quickly deteriorate because there is not enough income to provide the very services that made them attractive in the first place. Should your circumstances change, renting your timeshare is a good way to recoup your annual levy.