Well now it seems like I might be in a similar situation although not nearly as deep. Parents bought a 2 week February timeshare of a studio unit in the building while it was still under construction in 1974. https://esjtowers.net/
It was a forever deal, not the 30 year plan some places sell. I’d say they/we got their monies worth out of it after spending usually every other year there and renting it out the off years. Haven’t been down myself since they died 12 years ago although I have rented it out half a dozen times so the condo fee has been pretty much covered. With covid it’s been empty the last 2 years and last year’s fee is still owed. Property is still in my fathers name so I would have no liability if I just walked away.
Waiting for the cost estimates on stabilization and repairs but can imagine even for a 2 week timeshare, it will be in the five figures, at which point I think I might bail. Even if I don’t, I can imagine many others will and few things will ever get done making the building uninhabitable. Thoughts?
The problem with the original timeshares (of which your parents’ is one) compared to a traditional condo building or the “vacation clubs” of today is that the building literally has 52 times as many owners as a traditional condo building, or 52 times the number of units minus 1 more owners than a vacation club. Meaning that it is absolutely in the best interest for most of the owners to just walk away when that 5 figure bill comes. But unless there is something saying that you don’t actually own a specific unit, just a week in a random unit, they can’t make enough from foreclosing on you unless 51 other people who use your unit the rest of the year also decide to walk away. Hopefully they get enough foreclosures, are allowed to consolidate the remaining owners into other units, and are able to sell off the foreclosures for enough money that it will cover the repairs.
Normally I would say PYBDB, but you never signed up for this, your parents did, so it’s not your bill. And they found the only easy way to get out of a timeshare, so it seems like you are legally and morally in the clear.
“Hi, this is Jessica from ESJ Towers. Can I speak to Mr. Kovi?”
“What towers? Sorry, never heard of any towers.”
“Your parents’ timeshare.”
“I don’t know anything about a timeshare. And my parents are dead. Thanks for reopening that wound!” CLICK
“I’m sorry sir. I’m just calling about the special assessment invoice. Sir? Sir?”
Depending on how legally aggressive “ESJ Towers” decides to become, the special assessment could be levied against the estate of the parents. At that point the beneficiaries of their estate could have a situation on their hands. Of course if the parents passed away broke, that would be the end of it. But not everyone dies broke.
Well, again, everything depends on how legally aggressive they decide to become. They might just “let it go”.
But if not, if they do opt to pursue legal action to obtain the money, there would be “discovery”. And at that point they will discover the deaths.
Following such discovery they might change their minds and simply decide, in light of the deaths, to “let it go”. Or they could go after the estate unless the original contract contains a termination clause in event of death.
The whole building isn’t made up just of timeshare owners. I’d say one-third to one-half are. Another third to half are full unit owners and the remaining maybe third or less are owned by the management which uses them as hotel units. Maybe 450 apartments on 16 floors.
I’m wondering what happens if nothing gets done. I see just a preliminary estimate of $10M just to shore up the deteriorated columns and repair the balcony railings. I could imagine the actual repairs costing 10 times as much. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to tear the place down and rebuild? If nothing gets done, will the city condem it and force everyone out?
This seems to be the first question that needs to be answered. But now I’m curious. Since so many timeshares actually have a negative value, is dying the easiest way of getting out of it? If your kids don’t want your timeshare, can you just not will it to them and it just sits in limbo until something like this happens and the association looking to collect money finds out they have no one to collect from?
Question to @atikovi, if a new management company took over and they actually required the person named on the deed to sign documents allowing rentals of the timeshare week or show up in person to use the unit, and you were not willing to sign for your dad or pretend to be him, would the jig be up at that point?
I certainly agree. I missed that the deaths were so long ago. Some sort of statute of limitations has to apply . . . . except that:
If there was intentional obfuscation of the deaths, if the ownership never went through probate or was never transferred in another manner, then who knows what sort of case could be made if sufficient money is on the line and the matter goes to court.
When my mother died her house and property were transferred too me normally by her lawyer through her will. When my father died a year earlier, I didn’t really do anything official other than notify social security and his pension. His house where I’ve lived since before he died is still in his name. I pay the property taxes in his name. State Farm homeowners insurance didn’t renew when I mentioned it was still in his name but Esurance had no problem writing a new policy in my name.
Well normally debt obligations of a decedent are settled by that person’s executor or court appointed administrator, provided the estate has the funds to pay whatever is owed. However, in this instance:
It appears as if there might not have been a proper distribution of the assets, including “negative assets”, following the deaths. If the condo owners were never properly notified of the deaths they might have a court case against whoever it is that failed this duty. The failure itself could supercede any statute of limitations. Messy. And lawyers are not cheap.
Sounds like he’s already been doing this. If someone was sufficiently motivated, they could probably make OP’s life quite difficult with numerous flavors of fraud accusations.
This potential big assessment would have me a little worried - OP’s [criminal?] impersonation charade has deprived the complex of 12 years they had to reclaim the unit and find a legit owner, before such an assessment was looming. It’s unlikely - since the right person would have to know the story, be creative enough to frame it as a crime, and be vindictive enough to pursue it - but the past due fees and upcoming assessments could potentially land at OP’s feet as restitution for having defrauded the complex over the past 12 years.
I’m not seeing crime here, glitch99. The OP isn’t going to jail. However:
Depending how aggressive the condo folks decide to be, this certainly could quickly become a civil matter requiring adjudication before a court.
It occurs to me that the OP could likely avoid fines and court and all that by simply paying whatever assessment the condo people impose on everyone. They probably are no more interested in going to court than the OP is.
Now if the OP refuses to pay the assessment and leaves the condo folks holding the bag, then who knows what their reaction might be and what they might do. I certainly do not know. Much will depend on the amount of money involved.
I just read the OP’s most recent post. It appears there remains property in the father’s name despite his having passed away years ago. Should the condo people discover this, and if the condo privileges themselves remain in the the father’s name, then wanting money the condo people could simply attach, simply place a lien upon, the father’s home if the assessment is not satisfied in some other manner. Easy peasey.
No way in heck should that home still be in the father’s name, so much time having passed.
I did pay, under my fathers name, a special assessment of 2 years worth of condo fees a few years ago for repairs after the big hurricane. Many other people still haven’t and presumably just walked away. It’s not like they can damage your credit if the unit was paid off decades ago. Whether I paid the fees the last 12 years under his name shouldn’t be an issue in creating a debt for me now if I stop paying any more assessments. They got paid no matter who sent the money and were happy to accept it.
You are correct that when there are no damages, there’s nothing to pursue against you. But you defrauded them into thinking your dad was still alive. Had his estate been properly handled, and this unit was disposed of accordingly, they would’ve had 12 years to find a new owner who would’ve been responsible for the new assessment. You’ve created an illusion to hide the fact the responsible party no longer exists. Which could make you the responsible party.
Plus, the fact you’ve continued to exercise ownership over the property by paying the bills and renting it out, there’s an argument to be made that you have in fact taken ownership of the property. The title transfered to you upon your dad’s death, and all that is missing is the formality of a filed deed. Remember, a recorded deed is to protect your ownership interest in a property, it doesnt disprove ownership or responsibility. For all intents and purposes, the property is yours.
Unless you are prepared to deny ever doing anything with the property, and plead ignorance as to who has been paying it’s bills and renting it out all this time, you may end up on the hook for any expense that comes down the pipeline. It’s why you shouldnt leave such loose ends lingering indefinitely.
Side note - am I correct to assume that by “paid in my dad’s name” you mean that you’ve also maintained a bank account in his name all these years? Or do you just mean you’ve sent them anonymous money order payments that they incorrectly assume are coming from your dad?
No account in his name. I paid the fee with my credit card. The few times they rented out the place for me, I told them to apply rent toward the fee, and if there was an excess, they sent me a check made out to him, and then I would just write, Pay to the order of, me, on the back.
I am NOT a lawyer. I have done a modest amount of legal work including drawing and filing deeds, creating wills and POAs, and other stuff even much more complex (O & G leases). But importantly:
Your situation exceeds my legal knowledge. I believe you could be in jeopardy, but I’m not able to tell you how to extricate yourself. The legal work I’ve done was strictly “by the book” and “according to hoyle”. I never tried to finagle anything . . . just the opposite actually. And I’ve never landed in any legal hot water because of the work I did . . . . . thank goodness.
In my opinion you need to see a real lawyer and seek his or her counsel. For openers you need to get that house out of your father’s name ASAP, I think. But your real lawyer will provide you better advice than I’m able to offer. Maybe you are fine and do not have a problem at all. I think you could be a sitting duck, but only a real lawyer can tell you for certain where you stand.