Dictionary definitions of commonly-encountered timeshare terms and phrases unique to the timeshare industry.  Simply click on the corresponding letters to learn more.

A

Accelerated Use:

A right-to-use program that allows the member to accelerate usage of the time purchased. An example being: you have a 6-year right to use one week per year at a certain resort that is offering accelerated use. Instead of using one week every year, you may choose to use two weeks a year for 3 years.

Accrued Weeks:

Timeshare weeks that you banked from the prior year that you never used that will be available for use in the current calendar year.

Amber Week:

Is a shoulder season week term used by II.

Amenities:

Features that are on the property or nearby such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses, spas, restaurants, laundry facilities, etc.

ARDA (The American Resort Development Association):

The main trade association in the United States for the timeshare industry. Provides lobbying and other services in support of the industry.

B

Banking:

Depositing a week of timeshare into an exchange company’s “bank.” If an owner does not use a week in a particular year, they are generally allowed to bank it and use it at a later time.

Biennial:

A fixed week every other year (EOY). Owners are referred to as odd or even year owners.

Blue week:

Is an off week term used by RCI.

Bonus Time:

Use of your resort in addition to your regular allocated time on a space available basis. A Developer Bonus Week (DBW) is available to members who own at participating resort. These bonus weeks are issued directly from the timeshare resort, often issued as a signing bonus upon the purchase of a timeshare interval. A second type of bonus week is one issued by a timeshare exchange company. Owners of high-demand resort weeks receive them as incentives to deposit their timeshare week.

C

Check-In Date:

The date and day of week that that week starts; usually Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. You can check in after the start date but you cannot stay longer.

Check-In Time:

The time designated by the owner/resort. If you are going to be late please advise them.

Closing Costs:

These are the costs associated with the closing of a sale process, usually including: deed preparation or transfer of equity for right-to-use properties, recording costs, escrow fee, and administrative fees.

Club/Trust Membership:

Year-round usage of resort facilities with purchase, on a space available basis. This is the most generally used system of timeshare ownership in the UK and is growing in popularity everywhere else. Owners belong to a Club; their accommodation unit (and sometimes the leisure facilities) are held by Trustees who issue a Right-to-Use agreement to owners. Sometimes club membership is backed by a deed of ownership(i.e. Bluegreen Vacation Club), sometimes it is not. (The escritura system in Spain is a deeded system, but deeded timeshare ownership is not legal in the UK and some other countries.)

Constitution:

Basically the rules by which the resort is run. The collection of inter-related legal documents establishing the relationship between timeshare owner, developer, trustee, and management company.

Cooling Off Period:

The time given to a purchaser following signing of a timeshare purchase agreement, during which they may cancel without penalty. In the USA, the period varies from state to state, but is typically three business days.

D

Deed:

This is the legal document providing title to your timeshare property; it gives you your ownership rights.

Deeded Property:

True property ownership with deed recorded in the county where the property exists. This type of property has the same rights of ownership accorded to it as other deeded real estate. The owner may sell, rent, bequeath, or give away the property.

E

EOY (Every Other Year):

Biennial use of a timeshare interval.

Escrow:

A special secured account used to hold funds from the buyer and the seller related to closing of purchase and/or sale of a property.

Exchange:

The process of trading a week at one resort for a week at another resort or trading a specific week at the home resort for another week at the same resort. The exchange system allows an owner to trade their week with other owners thereby allowing each owner to travel and vacation to different destinations. Some resorts have internal exchanges with other resorts which are usually owned by the same company.

Exchange Company:

A company or organization that accepts timeshare weeks on deposit from interval owners/members to establish a collection of weeks from which other members may select a destination of their choice when depositing their week into the collection. When a member deposits their week with an exchange company, the company compares the week the depositor is asking for with weeks deposited by other members and provides a suitable match based on availability and value. Factors affecting the exchange power are: the resort’s rating, the time division; i.e. prime season versus low season, the size of the unit desired, etc.

F

Fee Simple:

The preferred type of real estate ownership. This type of interval ownership is the opposite of right-to-use or lease ownership and continues forever. The timeshare owner holds a deed in his/her name and the ownership of the property can be bequeathed to heirs.

Fixed Unit:

A time period that is fixed for each calendar year, either by date or by calendar weeks; most in numerical sequence 1-52. With a week number, your actual start date may vary slightly from year to year. Unlike a floating unit, a timeshare owner who owns a fixed unit at a resort will always vacation in the same physical unit each year they stay at their home resort. This type of ownership is particularly important if you have purchased, for example, an oceanfront property with the ocean at your door step and are not willing to vacation in an ocean-view unit. A fixed unit property assures the owner that he/she will always have the exact location and the exact unit they have purchased. This type of ownership is also the most desirable for owners that have “set” vacation times on an annual basis. For instance, a school teacher knows that each year they will be off during weeks 51 and 52, so a fixed week 52 is always going to be usable for that owner.

Fixed Week:

Referring to the timeshare interval calendar, the purchase of a fixed week property assures the owners that they will always have the same week each year; i.e., week 52 or week 35, etc. Alternatively, an owner of a floating week may choose another week within their designated season. A floating week owner may also elect to upgrade or downgrade to another season allocation to meet their annual vacation schedule. Upgrading to a higher time division usually incurs an additional cost. (Upgrading is not available at all resorts.)

Floating:

Your floating range is defined by a season and your week period is not fixed. You reserve your time period within the appropriate season annually. Most resorts have a High, Medium, and Low Season. Owners of a floating unit at a resort might not vacation in the same physical unit each year. Interval owners may request a specific unit and, if available for that particular week, the resort normally will honor the request.

Floating week based on fixed rotation – a type of timeshare ownership in which specific weeks rotate among owners from year to year on a fixed schedule. Common with fractional ownership interests/private residence clubs. These are typically found in older timeshare resorts and has not been a very “sellable” product in recent decades.

Floating Week/Time (also called “flex” time):

The purchaser of a flex timeshare week has the flexibility of scheduling their vacation interval with yearly variations in accordance with the resort’s guidelines. Typically, resorts will accept requests for specific weeks by the interval owner as soon as the annual maintenance fees are paid. Therefore, the earlier the maintenance fees are paid the better the chance that the owner can pick a specific interval week.

Fractional:

Timeshare ownership of two or more weeks at the same resort during a calendar year but in most cases used to describe ownership of 4 weeks, 12 weeks 24 weeks, etc.

G

Guest Certificate:

A certificate issued by an exchange company authorizing a guest to use an exchange instead of the registered owners.

H

HOA/POA (Home Owners Association/Property Owners Association):

When a resort is sold out or approaching sell out, its ownership is generally turned over to an HOA or POA, consisting of the timeshare owners of the resort with an elected board to administer the rules and regulations. Some resorts will hire an outside management company to operate the resort, collect maintenance fees, etc.; sometimes the developer maintains management rights.

Holiday Club/Vacation Club:

A club which provides a set number of vacation weeks to be used over a set term, the weeks are usually in timeshare apartments. These Clubs are generally not covered by the laws regulating the sale of timeshare.

Holiday Ownership:

Another term for Timeshare.

I

II (Interval International):

This is the second largest exchange company in the world.

Interval:

An assigned period of time that determines your week. Based on the timeshare weeks calendar wherein the fifty-two weeks of the year are numbered sequentially: week 1 through week 52 or week 53. A specific interval week is a seven-day period encompassing one of those fifty-two weeks.

Interval Calendar:

An annual calendar depicting the fifty-two or fifty-three weeks of each calendar year showing starting days of Friday to Friday, Saturday to Saturday, and Sunday to Sunday check-in dates.

L

Lease/Leasehold:

A lease ownership or right-to-use (RTU) ownership grants the leasor the right to use the property for a specified period of time; usually from 20 to 99 years. Ownership of the physical property is held by the resort developer or Management Company. Most properties in Hawaii and Mexico for instance, are leasehold properties.

Levy:

In a points club, the annual charge to owners to pay for administration of the club, management or supplementary management charges made for actual use of a week. Also can be a one-time charge made to owners by the Club or Management Company to pay for major or unexpected costs referred to as special assessments.

Lockout/Lock-off Unit:

Some timeshare condominium units are referred to as “lock-offs.” A lock-off, sometimes called a lockout, is a unit that can be divided into two separate sections. When it comes to renting out the unit, the owner can choose to rent the entire unit to one party or stay in one half of the unit and rent out the other half, or rent out both halves to different parties.
Be aware that, though the full unit may have a full kitchen and laundry facilities, the lock-off portion will likely look more like a hotel room – with one room, a bathroom, and possibly a small kitchenette. Before renting, make sure to ask whether you are getting a lock-off, and confirm the unit size and amenities in writing (an escrow agreement is the most secure way to do this).

M

Maintenance Fee:

Maintenance fees are established and collected by the Home Owners Association or Resort Management Company to maintain the timeshare resort property, pay insurance, utilities, refurbishing, and taxes. These fees vary from resort to resort and with the type and size of the unit purchased. The cost of resort operation is spread among owners. This fee must also build up reserves to pay for non-recurring costs like furniture, appliances, etc. that need periodic replacement, and other capital costs as normal physical deterioration occurs.

Management Company:

This is the company that is contracted, usually by the Owners Club/HOA, to carry out all the day-to-day management of the resort. This is very often owned or controlled by the developer.

Management Fees:

The fees to cover the costs of running the resort on a daily basis. I t is usually paid annually, by each timeshare owner or points club member.

Maximum Occupancy:

The maximum number of people a unit will accommodate, usually two to ten people. Maximum occupancy is typically expressed in conjunction with “private occupancy” referring to the number of people the unit will sleep privately and the number of bedrooms within the unit.

O

Odd or Even Year Usage:
Timeshare ownership usage wherein you receive a week every other year either in odd-numbered (2007, 2009, 2011, etc.) or even-numbered years (2010, 2012, 2014). The ownership of this type of timeshare is valued at one-half the value of a full ownership property since the use is restricted to one-half of the annual usage.

P

Points:

Programs which allow the owners choice and control over when and where they vacation or for how long or short they stay. Points are a symbolic unit of measure having no intrinsic value separate and apart from interval ownership, but normally points can be directly related to a unit. In other words “x” points equals a 2 bed/2 bath unit at “x” resort during “x” season.

Points Clubs:

A timeshare system where owners hold points which entitle them to use a period (anywhere from a few days to a few weeks) every year from a choice of resorts. Points may be backed by an actual deed.

Property Bonds:

A system similar to points clubs for owning shares or bonds in a company owning properties.

Q

Quarter-share:

Three-month timeshare ownership with a rotating schedule.

R

RCI (Resort Condominiums International):

This is the largest exchange company in the world, owned by Cendant Corp.

Red week:

This is the prime season to visit a particular resort.

Resale:

This refers to a timeshare interval that an owner, resort, or agent is selling after being originally sold during the initial sales at that resort.

Rescission:

A period of time granted by company policy and state statutes during which a person has the right to cancel a purchase contract for a timeshare without incurring a penalty.

Resort Ratings:

A comparison of resort quality, amenities, demand and location. The two largest companies that have rating systems are Resort Condominiums International (RCI), Interval International (II). RCI and II rate their affiliated resorts based upon criteria of the quality and services provided by the resort as well as the availability of amenities at or near the resort. RCI uses the Gold Crown designation for their highest quality resorts and Resorts of International Distinction for second-level resorts. II designates their top resorts as 5-Star resorts.

Right to Use (RTU):

A right to use ownership grants the lessor/owner the right to use the property for a specified period of years; usually from 20 to 99 years. The resort developer holds ownership of the physical property. However, during the right-to-use period, the owner may rent, transfer, or bequeath the remaining years of their right to use.

S

Season:

Different times of the year coded by the exchange companies division of the weeks in a year into popular (Red), shoulder (White for RCI or Amber for II) and off-peak (Blue for RCI or Green for II) for the calculation of trading power in exchanges. Each resort may have different seasons depending on location, etc.

Space banking:

Depositing a week of owned timeshare with an exchange company, also referred to as banking.

Special Assessment:

This is a fee, over and above the annual maintenance fee, assessed by the resort pro rata to interval owners. This fee, when assessed, is intended to defray expenses related to major repairs and refurbishing of resort equipment, facilities, and units.

T

Timeshare:

A form of joint ownership of property under which as many as 52 owners, either singly or severally, receives the use of the property, condominium, or other property for a specified period each year, such as one or more weeks. Sometimes referred to as Vacation Ownership, Holiday Ownership, Multi Ownership or Group Ownership. Timesharing can be in a single building, an apartment block, or a boat.

TATOC:

The Association of Timeshare Owners Committees.

Trading Power:

The value of a timeshare week when trading or exchanging for another week. In some situations, the owner of a red week at an RCI Gold Crown resort can trade that week for two or more weeks at a resort of lesser distinction or for weeks in a lower time division. Supply and demand rules prevail in this type of exchange and the owners can greatly enhance their trading power by purchasing high demand weeks and resorts.

Trustees:

A bank, trust company, or a group of individuals who hold timeshare accommodation (and sometimes leisure facilities) in trust on behalf of the owners and grant owners a right to-use through a license (Ownership Certificate). Trustees provide security for owners in the event that a developer fails financially. Some trustees may have added responsibilities such as ensuring the continuity of the Owners Club.

U

Unit Size:

Normally expressed as hotel unit, studio unit, and efficiency unit or by number of bedrooms. Hotel units, studio units, and efficiency units typically consist of a single room with sleeping accommodations and a small built-in kitchen, sleeping 2-4 people. One, two, three, or more bedroom units are usually condominium-style accommodations and feature a partial or full kitchen and other living areas.

V

Vacation Ownership:

This is another term for timeshare.

W

Week 53:

Almost all calendars contain only 52 weeks of use in a year – but roughly every seven years there is an extra week, week 53 which is generally reserved for the use of the developer/founder member.

Week Number:

See definition for interval calendar or view a check-in date calendar by week number.
White week:
This is the term for the shoulder week season with RCI.