Buying a time share: your rights

Image of puppet wearing Hawaiian shirt lowering sunglasses.  Learn about your rights and ask the right questions before you buy a time share or join a vacation club.

Overview

A time share contract gives you the right to use a property for a period of time.

A vacation club contract offers discount accommodations, sometimes through loyalty points, with a hotel chain.

The law (cancellations)

Under the Consumer Protection Act, when you buy a time share or sign up with a vacation club you have a right to:

  • a 10-day cooling-off period, to cancel without any reason
  • end the agreement within 1 year if you do not receive a written copy of the contract
  • end the agreement within 1 year if the contract leaves out information required by the act

These rules only apply if either you or the business is located in Ontario at the time of purchase.

What to include in your contract

In addition to the rights and details that should be included in every contract, a contract for time share should include:

  • any additional fees for swapping locations, if allowed
  • all maintenance fees
  • a list of circumstances that may result in a change of maintenance or other fees
  • how fees will be calculated

Before you buy

Always get legal advice

Consult an Ontario lawyer if you are buying within Ontario. If you are buying outside of Ontario, you should also consult a local lawyer in the location where you’re buying. This local lawyer should not be associated with the business marketing the time share.

Don’t rush into a purchase

Don’t give in to the high-pressure tactics if you’re told the offer is "one-time only" and you have to sign on the spot. Read the contract carefully to make sure anything you are told is in the contract. If it’s not written down, ask for it to be added to the contract. If they refuse, don’t sign the contract.

Research the property

Make sure the property exists and is in a popular vacation spot. This is especially important if you are buying with the plan of swapping your time share with other owners around the world (sometimes for a fee). The seller may say a property is easy to swap, when in fact it could be a difficult or impossible thing to do.

Ask the right questions in case you have to sell the time share

  • are there any laws affecting time share resale?
  • is there a resale market for the location?
  • are there any conditions, like fees that you have to pay the timeshare corporation?

Ask the right questions about maintenance and other fees

  • how much are the maintenance fees?
  • are they calculated based on a percentage of the annual fee or in some other way?
  • how old is the building?
  • are you likely to face major repairs?
  • are you paying for amenities that you may not use?
Updated: September 29, 2014