A Quick Look at the Law Surrounding Exiting Timeshares


There are potentially numerous ways to exit a timeshare. For that reason, here are brief explanations and information as to any legal stipulations, regulations and issues you will need to be aware of when attempting to exit a timeshare, and some of the most common means by which timeshare exits are gone about.

Meanwhile, if none of the below timeshare exit strategies apply to you or your specific situation, or you require more in-depth information, refer to guidance provided in both the Legal and Law sections of the TESS (timeshare Exit & Support Services) website.

Exiting a Timeshare within the Cooling Off Period

If you have bought, been pressured into buying or otherwise found yourself suddenly owning a timeshare that you do not want – and for whatever reason you do not want it – within the last fortnight, there is good news for you; despite the fact that almost all timeshare companies, sellers and providers make a point of saying that their timeshares are purchased without the option to later cancel or essentially ‘get a refund’, they are not strictly speaking being truthful.

The government has attempted to empower those looking to purchase a timeshare and enable them to do so safely and securely by affixing the sale of all timeshares with the addition of a 14 day ‘cooling off’ period. Hence if exiting a timeshare via this means is possible and whenever it is possible, it will provide the quickest and easiest way by which to do so, not least because your reasons for wishing to do so cannot be used against you to otherwise deny you your right to exit.

For more information as to exiting during a ‘cooling off period’ as well as how to do this, give the article: Cooling Off Periods Explained, published by the Timeshare Consumer Association, a read.

Exiting a Spanish or Portuguese Timeshare

Because more Spanish and Portuguese based timeshare have been bought by Brits than any other kind since the conception of the timeshare back in the sixties, a high proportion of those attempting to exit their timeshare are then trying to exit a Spanish or Portuguese timeshare. Fortunately, there are options specifically available for those such people – provided, that is, you can answer affirmatively to either of the two following questions.

  1. Did You Purchase Your Timeshare in or After 1980?

A high proportion of timeshares sold to Brits in or after the 1980s were so without complying with all of the legal regulations and requirements specific to both Spanish and Portuguese common law.

Therefore, timeshare owners who purchased either a Spanish or Portuguese timeshare during in or subsequent to 1980 can, when applicable, use this to successfully argue that their timeshare agreement is in fact null and void for this reason.

Specifically, if you bought into an entrusted or deeded timeshare, have purchased a timeshare in Spain, Portugal or the Canary Islands in the last thirty-five years, and regardless of your own nationality, this is an option that might well enable you to exit your timeshare.

  1. Did You Purchase Your Timeshare Prior to January 7th, 1999?

An alternative option, if you purchased a Spanish timeshare prior to January 7th, 1999, certain clauses introduced at that time into the Spanish Civil Code may enable you to successfully exit your timeshare by means of terminating your contract on the grounds of having it declared void. This would mean that the amount you paid for your timeshare, including any interest, would be recoverable.

Unfortunately, to avoid returning your money, the company or trader from which or whom you bought your timeshare in the is instance would, to avoid paying out, almost certainly force you to take them to a Spanish Court, or to avoid being taken to court, simply offer to accept return ownership of the timeshare to rid you of it and free them from having to pay you anything at all.

So, when attempting to exist a timeshare in this manner, it is imperative to ensure you have a specialist solicitor by your side throughout the process to avoid losing both your timeshare and your money.

Re-Selling a Timeshare

If none of the above options prove possible in your specific situation, you will probably end up having to consider re-sale, which (as you probably already know if you own a timeshare) can prove problematic.

That said, re-selling a timeshare, whilst unlikely to make you any money or even make you break even, does stand to save you from having to pay any further annual fees, and free you up to begin holidaying and living as you like. Hence, often the trick to successfully re-selling a timeshare is to ‘cut one’s loses’ rather than aim to ‘make a killing’, especially when you consider the fact that for every person who wishes to buy a timeshare there are approximately 400 people trying to sell one.

Despite this, re-sale is possible. If you find your timeshare is not selling though and it has been more than a year, you might want to consider selling back to a company such as the Timeshare Hypermarket.  Although companies are likely to make an under value offer, again, you will escape another year of timeshare fees and be free to get on with your life, at at least.

Finally, when or if attempting to sell your timeshare, it is also important to be aware of scams and cons, which are in 2016 as likely to be perpetrated against those selling a timeshare as those trying to buy one (because and as already mentioned: more people are currently try to sell a timeshare than buy one). So, before you start looking into selling your timeshare, give the article: You Want to Sell Your Timeshare, featured on the UK Citizen’s Advice Bureau website a through read, it could just save you thousands, at least in wasted time and effort if not pounds.