Massachusetts Non-Judicial Foreclosure for Timeshares Effective January 4

2010-12-08

Issue Brief

Due to the many sold-out timeshare resorts and associations in the Commonwealth, ARDA-New England determined in late 2007 to undertake a two-year effort to draft and push for enactment of non-judicial foreclosure legislation to reduce the costs of foreclosures for both mortgages and timeshare assessment liens.  While timeshare developers will also benefit from the change in procedure, the proposed legislation was primarily targeted to assist timeshare associations facing lengthy and expensive foreclosures.

Impact

Judicial foreclosure is designed to protect owners of primary homes from losing their residences.  However, the Commonwealth's process was too expensive and time-consuming for one-week timeshare interests.  Particularly with regard to association assessment liens, the cost of judicial foreclosure was often far more than the amount of the lien.

Position/Call to Action

Older resorts in Massachusetts sometimes struggle to provide ongoing maintenance and repair.  While the vast majority of timeshare owners are happy with their vacation experience, there is a small percentage of owners who stop paying each year.  The problem is that over many years a small percentage can add up, burdening the remaining responsible timeshare owners.  Sometimes this also results in necessary, but costly,  special assessments to make up for lost  operating capital.   Thus ARDA-ROC and ARDA- New England funded and worked with the Commonwealth's Legislature to garner support for and enact less-costly and burdensome non-judicial foreclosure for timeshares without unfairly impacting timeshare owners' rights. 

Resolution

After more than two years of effort by ARDA-New England members, ARDA-ROC lobbyists, timeshare managers, association board members and individual timeshare owners, and an extensive educational effort with legislators in the Commonwealth, Governor Deval Patrick signed the bill enacting non-judicial foreclosure legislation for timeshares on October 6, 2010.  The new law, effective on January 4, 2011 will greatly streamline the process and reduce costs for timeshare foreclosures in Massachusetts.  A copy of the Act, as signed by the Governor may be found here.

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