A timeshare is a type of property that is owned and shared among a number of people. It is associated with divided ownership, or rights of usage. Generally, these properties are condominiums or living spaces that are located in desirable vacation destinations. A timeshare owner would purchase the rights to use the property at specified times during the year.
An example of this would be if a timeshare owner chooses to pay for three weeks during the month of August, at a property located near a beach. They may only inhabit the property for those three weeks in August. However, this helps the person to reduce costs, because they do not have to pay for the property when they are not using it. The main appeal to a timeshare is that a person can “own” property in which to vacation, but at a fraction of the cost.
Mexico timeshares are such properties that are located in the Mexico region. As previously mentioned, timeshares often consist of resort condominiums, and they are often located near beaches or other popular tourist attractions in Mexico. Mexico timeshares may be managed by U.S. companies, but many are owned or managed by companies in Mexico. Regardless of who owns the timeshare property, if you are considering buying a timeshare in Mexico, you should be wary of various types of timeshare fraud.
It could help you to understand the different legal protections provided by both the United States and Mexican legal systems. As Mexico is not generally within the United State’s jurisdiction, it could be hard to enforce your legal rights if you are the victim of a scam involving a Mexican timeshare.
What Are Some Mexican Laws Involving Timeshares?
The laws in Mexico responsible for governing timeshares can be complex. Mexican property laws state that foreigners (i.e. persons who are not Mexican citizens) are only allowed to own timeshare properties that are located within fifty kilometers of the coast. Additionally, they are only allowed to own timeshare properties that are located within one hundred kilometers of any international border. Mexico timeshare laws also restrict foreigner property rights by dictating that you are only given the right to use the property; you are not given the right to own it.
In contrast, the United States allows for an ownership interest or deed in a timeshare arrangement. This right allows you to utilize a timeshare for a specified amount of time during the year, for a specified number of years. An example of this would be every November through December, for a specified period of five years. It is important to note that the exact terms will vary on a case by case basis.
Mexico timeshare laws may also vary from United States timeshare laws in regard to timeshare cancellations, or getting out of a timeshare contract. These concepts will be further discussed below.
How Do I Cancel a Timeshare Contract in Mexico?
Timeshare agreements are legally binding contracts. Because of this, timeshare cancellation is not generally an option once the contract has been finalized due to the fact that the contract creates an obligation to adhere to the provisions contained within the contract. Additionally, timeshare contracts can sometimes cover several years.
Under contract laws, cancelling a contract is known as contract rescission. Rescission typically allows for a small window of time which a person may cancel a recently purchased timeshare. However, this depends on the individual company.
United States property laws generally do not govern the right to cancel a Mexico timeshare purchase. However, under Mexican law, you typically do have the right to cancel a timeshare purchase within five business days. This right to cancel cannot be waived. Mexican timeshare cancellation consists of either cancelling the contract, or by asking directly for a refund. To cancel a contract, you will need to follow the timeshare company’s specific policies or rules regarding cancellation.
Generally speaking, the first and most important step you should take is to review your timeshare contract in order to determine what the Rescission Period is. Ensure that you are still within the specified period for cancellation; remember, according to Mexican law, that time period is five business days.
Another way to get out of a timeshare contract is to contact the developer of the timeshare property, as they may issue you a refund. Should the developer refuse to do so, you may pursue a claim with Mexico’s “Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor” (Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the Consumer).
How Do Foreclosures Work for a Mexico Timeshare?
If you are delinquent on your timeshare property payments, you will not likely face foreclosure on the property. This is due to the fact that Mexico is only granting you a right to use the timeshare, not own it.
However, the timeshare resort can and may still report your delinquent payments to credit agencies. Or, the timeshare resort may then turn over your case to a collections agency. If that is the case, you will need to deal directly with the outstanding payments.
What Is Timeshare Fraud?
Anyone considering purchasing a timeshare, whether Mexican or otherwise, should be vigilant for timeshare fraud. Some of the more common examples of timeshare fraud may include:
- Misrepresentations Regarding the Nature of the Property: This could include falsifying information about the property’s dimensions; rental availability; property location; and, the location’s history. An example of this would be if a Mexico timeshare is listed as a beachfront property, when it is not. This could be considered a type of timeshare fraud;
- Falsifying Documents: Timeshare fraud could involve the use of falsified documents, such as timeshare contracts that are ambiguous, vague, or hard to read. It could also involve documents that have been forged, illegally copied, or printed or used without authorization from a proper Mexico real estate company; and
- Agent Misrepresentation: Timeshare fraud schemes can also involve misrepresentations regarding an agent’s background, certification, education, or other credentials. This is especially important to be aware of, as it can be difficult to identify a fraudulent agent when dealing with international timeshares.
Should I Hire an Attorney for Help with a Mexico Timeshare Issue?
If you are considering signing a contract for a Mexican timeshare property, or are having issues with your timeshare, you should consult with a skilled and knowledgeable real estate attorney.
To reduce the chances of fraud, if you are unsure of any documents or credentials, you may wish to have your timeshare contract reviewed by your attorney before signing the contract. Additionally, an experienced real estate attorney can also represent you and your rights in court as needed.