Could This Happen At Your Timeshare Resort?

An article in the March/April issue of TimeSharing Today motivated me to research a situation that sounded like a timeshare owner’s worst nightmare. It seems that a timeshare condo located on St. Pete Beach was closed and then sold at auction as part of a property tax sale in Pinellas County, Florida in November of 2006.

The timeshare unit owners at the Camelot timeshare owned their property by individual deed. Yet despite this, when property taxes went unpaid on the timeshare resort for three years, the individual owners were not contacted by the property tax office. Instead, with unpaid property taxes totaling $180,000, Camelot timeshares (a timeshare resort valued at $15 million) was sold to Luke Investments for two million dollars.

A Questionable Timeshare Owners Association

According to an article that appeared in the St. Petersburg Times last year (March 26, 2007), the president of the Camelot homeowners association said he, “…has not been able to contact timeshare owners because Luke Investments won’t let him in the building’s office where all the records are, including contact information for all the owners.”

The article goes on to explain that when he was asked why he hadn’t looked up the timeshare owners’ deeds and contacted them that way, he (the TOA president) said it would be too time consuming. As an explanation of why this problem went on for three years unchecked, the president said the office manager never informed him the taxes were unpaid.

Okay, surely this response brings up some questions like: why the timeshare owners’ association president never checked to be sure that the property taxes were being paid or why he apparently didn’t notice that there was $180,000 surfeit in the association budget. Nevertheless, the St. Pete Beach police chose not to press charges against any of the Camelot association board members or its employees, so we have to assume they were able to answer those questions to someone’s satisfaction.

A Happy Ending for the Timeshare Owners

The good news for the timeshare owners at Camelot was that a County Judge in Florida agreed with them, that they should have been individually contacted by the property tax office before the timeshare resort was auctioned to pay the back taxes. His ruling voided the timeshare sale.

Of course, this decision did not set well with Luke Investments, who believed they had purchased the property fairly. According to TimeSharing Today, a Florida Appellate Court recently brought the matter to an end, upholding the County Judge’s decision to void the tax sale of the property.

And perhaps the best news of all for the timeshare owners at Camelot is that they have fired their old property management company!

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