Owning a timeshare may seem like a good idea for buyers looking for a slice of paradise once a year, but, like any property purchase, timeshares are also packaged with legal issues. Along with a week of sand and sun, buyers of timeshares can expect that they eventually may run into a deed problem. A deed is a legal document that details ownership rights of property.

If you ever grow unsatisfied with your timeshare, there may be a deed back clause in your purchase contract or the resort may offer a deed back program. A deed back clause or program allows you to legally give your timeshare back to the resort, but until then, you remain responsible for paying the maintenance and special assessment fees along with your mortgage payments.

However, not every timeshare agreement easily ends in a deed back program. Sometimes, timeshare owners who no longer wish to own the property or lose it due to bankruptcy or foreclosure may be offered a warranty deed by the resort or lender to sign to legally remove their ownership status. A warranty deed is a type of deed where the seller guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has a right to sell it to the buyer. This is in contrast to a quitclaim deed, where the seller does not guarantee that he or she holds title to a piece of real estate.

Timeshare owners should be very cautious about signing a warranty deed when attempting to give up ownership of the property. Without an attorney’s assistance in researching the full history of the property, it is virtually impossible to definitely state that the timeshare property is clear of any encumbrances. By signing a warranty deed to give the timeshare back to the resort or to a new buyer, the original timeshare owner may be making legal claims that they might not be able to back up in court if an issue ever arises with the timeshare’s title. Instead, a timeshare owner would be better served by signing a quitclaim deed, which says that the former timeshare owner gives the new timeshare owner whatever interest they have in the property.

If you own a timeshare and are thinking of giving up your interest in the property, consult an experienced real estate attorney before signing any documents or making any major legal decisions. A real estate attorney will be able to check the property history of your timeshare and ensure that you do not entangle yourself in a potential legal dispute years after giving up your stake in the property.

Stephen K. Hachey, a Florida real estate attorney, can help your wade through this process and determine a positive solution. Contact him at 813-549-0096.

The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. The author takes full responsibility for the content. Like all blog posts, this is offered for general information purposes and does not constitute legal advice.