There are several drawbacks to owning a timeshare property in Florida and many of them are the fault of the manatee, a dopey, inelegant creature that spends most of it’s time wrapped around the propellers of Floridian speedboats.
Some while back, the governors of Florida decided that they couldn’t continue to fish lumps of manatee meat out from the coastline and embarked on a mission to save the few that hadn’t tried to mate with any boat passing. The first part of their mission was to increase the price of licence plates, with the added surcharge used to fund the fitting of protective cages around boat propellers.
The sea cow had become Florida’s cash cow.
So what has this got to do with my timeshare, and its’ drawbacks?’ I hear you ask – and I will tell you.
The licence plate plan had a limited success, but it encouraged the powers that be to enter into a full-fledged environmental crusade. So happy were they that they had reduced the amount of time taking pieces of manatee out of the salt-water swamps that they looked at where they could protect next, and in their self-righteous environmental fervour they saw an answer. The reason why there were so many boats involved in romantic throes with daft water mammals was due to the amount of tourists in their state. Very discreetly, all kinds of environmental taxes were levied, and the bulk of them were on the soft target of timeshare villas.
For those that may not be aware, there are all kinds of environmental taxes when it comes to owning property in Florida, and there are several more attached to houses that get let out. Take an extra hit for land tax, add some more for having your bins cleared, and then wait for an envelope to drop on your doorstep when you have let your property to someone that doesn’t understand the refuse collection system. That will be the fine for dropping a drinks can in the paper trash by mistake, and it’s all the manatees fault!
One of the things that can’t be instantly blamed on manatees, at least not without further research, is the great idea of having your villa positioned next to a golf course.
That’s handy,’ I hear you say. I can go straight onto the course and have a good round, then get back for a beer before lunch.’
In theory that’s a great idea, and I would love it too, if I was just renting. However, if I was leasing the property out I’m not sure I would be that happy. Calling the pool maintenance guy out every other day to unblock your filter will probably end up making him richer than the property will make you, and he will never have to buy a golf ball again. In fact it’s probably him at the seventh, taking a massive driver and launching the ball straight out of bounds and into your pool.
So where does this leave the hapless timeshare buyer?
Well, you can take a chance in selling quickly and hoping to recoup your outlay. You could possibly hold out for a few years and see where that gets you or, alternatively, wait for a lot longer.
However, by that time, despite the environmental actions devised by the state of Florida, your property is likely to be several feet below water and, when the insurance assessor pops round and forces open the door, you can guarantee the only inhabitant in there will be a heavily battle-scarred manatee, and it will, no doubt, have a big daft grin on it’s face!