What Happens to Your Florida Timeshare Debt if You Lose Your Job?
Saturday, April 25, 2009
It is hard to say which is the greater problem: the economy itself or consumer concerns about the economy. Either one gridlocks the flow of money as people spend less and worry more.
Both problems have worked against timeshare developers who must carry on despite there being fewer qualified timeshare buyers and greater reticence to part with their money by those who do have sufficient income to buy timeshare.
The gridlock stops being only a timeshare developer problem and takes on widespread economic impact in any state where timeshares represent a significant part of the hospitality industry and tax base. In Florida, home to more timeshare resorts than any other state in the US, the challenges that have faced the timeshare industry translate to a statewide problem that calls for legislators and the industry to work collaboratively on any measures that could potentially translate to relief.
Help for Florida Timeshares
Florida House Speaker-designate Dean Cannon, has been working with lobbyists for the timeshare industry on a plan that will permit Florida timeshare companies to sell debt cancellation policies as part of a timeshare mortgage. Functioning like insurance, such policies would provide a consumer who buys timeshare from the developer with debt forgiveness in the event he (or she) loses his income.
Jason Gamel, vice president of state government affairs for the American Resort Development Association, was quoted by the Orlando Sentinel as saying, “It’s another good product that would allow developers to facilitate sales of time shares, bring tourists to Central Florida and give people comfort about their purchase.” Gamel compared the timeshare mortgage forgiveness policies to a type of travel insurance.
Westgate timeshare is among the Florida timeshare companies lobbying for this legislation. Westgate timeshare already sells similar debt-forgiveness policies as an option with their Nevada timeshares and their California timeshares.
The caveats of the policies have yet to be worked out, but one assumes that they cover loss of income by the head of household due to job loss or death.
The legislation (HB 61) has passed the Florida House and has been sent to the Senate for discussion. With only a couple of weeks left in the 2009 legislative session, approval of the plan may go down to the wire.