Vacation homes are properties that are owned or rented for the sole purpose of using them for vacation and recreation purposes. In most cases, these are second homes or condos that are located in popular vacation spots, such as near beaches, theme parks, ski resorts, or other similar locations. The person who owns them typically has a primary residential home, which is located in a different place than the vacation home.

Vacation homes are usually only used for a few weeks or months at a time. During the rest of the year, the owner may lease the property to a renter, or they may simply leave the property vacant for the time being. They can sometimes be similar to timeshares, except that the person may actually own title to the land.

What Are Some Legal Issues with Vacation Homes?

Because of their unique use and functions, vacation homes can often involve very specific legal issues that are not normally found in residential homes. These can include:

  • Issues regarding maintenance and upkeep of the home and land
  • Break-ins or thefts, especially if no one is living there for large stretches of time
  • People squatting or intruding onto the property
  • Issues with rent or leases

In addition, vacation homes can sometimes have a high turnover rate in terms of sales and purchases. That is, a person may often decide to sell their vacation home first before any property if they need extra funds.

Lastly, some homeowners are engaging in the practice of “home-swapping”. This is where the homeowner switches property with another homeowner, often for the purpose of vacation. For instance, a homeowner in California might arrange to “swap homes” for a few weeks with a homeowner in Florida, in order to have a different vacation experience. There may be various safety and legal considerations with such practices.

What If I Have a Dispute over a Vacation Home?

Disputes over vacation homes can often occur as well.  A common dispute is where the owner of a vacation home fails to keep up with regular mortgage payments on the home. This can happen because vacation homes are often seen as a luxury or an additional expense. If the person or family is experiencing financial hardships, they may often begin defaulting on the mortgage payments for the vacation property.

Lastly, some vacation homes may be obtained through a rent-to-own agreement. These are very specific types of real estate arrangements that can sometimes result in issues like breaches of contract. Such disputes may often require legal action to resolve.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help with a Vacation Home?

Vacation homes can often make good investments and can save costs for persons who travel or take vacations a lot. You may need to hire a property lawyer if you wish to obtain a vacation home, or if you have any questions regarding one. Your attorney can provide you with legal advice and guidance for your purchase, and can help you negotiate a deal on the property. If you have any legal issues or disputes with regards to a vacation home, your lawyer can help represent you during a lawsuit or other formal legal proceedings.