A timeshare, in its most basic definition, means “the arrangement whereby several joint owners have the right to use a property as a holiday home under a time-sharing scheme”. In other words, you purchase a share in one particular unit within a timeshare holiday resort complex of your choice, for just one or two weeks (in general), and the rest of the weeks in the year are bought up by other timeshare holders, and you each take your holiday there in your allotted week(s) of the year, every year.
Depending on the terms of your contract, a timeshare holder may rent out their timeshare week to another party, and use the money from that to, perhaps, pay for the holiday week that they could not take themselves.
Other timeshare agreements allow holders to swap their unit with another in a different destination of the same value, so both parties get a change of scenery.
Where Did the Idea of Timeshare Originate?
It’s thought that the concept of timeshare came about in Europe in the early 20th century, when families would get together to pool their funds in order to buy a holiday home that they could share, whilst each contributing a set amount to the maintenance and upkeep of the property.
In those days, of course, there was scarcely such a thing as air travel – which didn’t become widely available until the 1960s. As such, most holidaymakers spent their holidays in the country where they lived, or travelled by boat and car to destinations in mainland Europe.
Back then, the idea of holidays was still in its early days, for most anyway. The wealthy aristocracy had, of course, been travelling abroad and staying in hotels for many years. For the average family, this was still somewhat of a luxury.
What’s more, when people did go on holiday, it was usually for more of an extended period than we are used to these days. As such, buying a share in a holiday home was considered much better value than a hotel.
In the 1960s, with the advent of more widely available air travel, the travel industry began to grow. This was the period in which timeshare as we know it today began.
The Dark Underbelly
It was at the point when the industry began to really grow that widespread mis selling and fraudulent timeshare sales began rearing their ugly head. There was very little, at that time, in place to protect timeshare purchasers. It was only after a lot of people had been effectively robbed of thousands of pounds that the law got involved, with both the UK and Europe putting legislation in place, which – of course – is still going on today.
For the most part, the timeshare industry has been cleaned up a lot since those dark days. Nonetheless, quite a few legacy issues remain, that mean hardworking timeshare holders are still sometimes finding themselves duped by unscrupulous timeshare companies.
What Other Timeshare Terms Might I Hear?
You may hear of some other terms bandied about, which all effectively come under the banner of ‘timeshare’. Holiday ownership, holiday clubs, vacation ownership, destination clubs, and so on.
Some of these alternative terms for timeshare can be tricky too, though, and can often describe systems that are designed to manipulate or evade the jurisdiction of timeshare law.
There are often some minor (or major) differences between the types of timeshare, so before you sign up to anything, make sure you know the ins and outs thoroughly.
If you’re interested in finding out more about timeshare, wish to exit your existing timeshare property, or find out about the resale market, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re always happy to help!