How to Verify if a Timeshare Rental is Legitimate?
Rental Verification Checklist!
- Talk to the owner on the phone - get a feel for who they are.
- Rent from a TUG member
- Ask the owner to email or Fax you a copy of their original reservation confirmation
- Ask the owner to set it up with the resort so you can call and confirm the reservation
- Ask if you can pay a $100 deposit, get the confirmation in your name, and then pay the Balance
- Ask the owner to send you a copy of their deed, with their address blacked out.
- Ask for references
- Request a notarized rental contract
Authors note: don't ask for escrow - it protects the renter, but not the owner, and using escrow means that the owner doesn't get their money until after the trip, and after they have had to pay their MF. The fact that the owner won't accept escrow doesn't mean they aren't completely legit - an owner with a popular week for rent will not accept escrow, because they can just move on to someone else, who doesn't ask for escrow, and get their money sooner. I do several rentals every year, and I would never agree to use escrow.
ALWAYS ask if they are renting an exchange. RCI* and II do not allow exchanges to be rented, and if you get caught, you can lose the rental and your $$$. You can tell if it is an exchange, when they send you a copy of their confirmation, because it will be a confirmation from the exchange company, not directly from the resort.
*One exception to this RCI rule is if an RCI points owner uses their points to make a reservation at their own home resort - this may be rented. If they use points to make an exchange to a resort where they don't own - it may not be rented. If the confirmation is from RCI, ask the owner to document that the reservation is at their own home resort.
(See this sticky to see the rules for all the major exchange companies - Which Exchange companies allow rentals? - some exchange companies DO allow exchanges to be rented.)
Common red flags to look out for!
This section lists the common red flags that come up most often with rental scams! Even if you ignore the advice above, if you encounter any of these scenarios during the course of booking a timeshare rental, you should begin to worry!
- Emails sent containing broken english or otherwise oddly worded comments and sentences
- Owner wants you to contact, pay, or otherwise deal with a "3rd party" instead of them directly
- Owner demands payment only with personal check or money order
- Owners name/contact info is different from what is on the reservation or owner confirmation
- Owner asks you to pay using "gift" option on paypal
- Owner asks for a significant amount of the rental payment before providing any confirmation or details
Author note: This is by no means a list of every possible red flag, but these are certianly the most common, and great indications that you should avoid sending ANY money to the party in question.
Ok TUG, where do I find legitimate Timeshare rentals?
Glad you asked! We actually have a huge Timeshare Marketplace that has thousands of Timeshares for sale and for rent each and every day. You can contact the owner directly through each ad! Below are some other useful links for reading up on Renting your Timeshare!
How to Verify a Timeshare Rental: Original Article
Buying Selling and Renting Timeshares: Online Forum Discussions
We hope this will provide you some basic guidelines for the safe renting of a Timeshare from an existing owner, it truly is a fabulous way to go on vacation and save a fortune!