In a perfect world the only thing ARDA-ROC would be doing today would be writing checks, sitting back and relaxing. But, it’s not a perfect world and so a typical day for Chairman Ken McKelvey goes something like this:
It is a Thursday and McKelvey started his day discussing a new wrinkle in the South Carolina transfer legislation that ARDA-ROC has been proposing. That was followed by a conference call regarding the proposed United States Virgin Islands timeshare fee and the day before was loaded with details regarding a Sint Maarten Parliament Timeshare Ordinance and its potential impact on consumers along with a final draft of legislature in Florida regarding the sunset clause to help legacy properties gain reasonable voting requirements to extend into the timeshare agreements into the future. Whew. And he’s just a volunteer who is happy it is not Monday.
The ongoing operations of ARDA-ROC is both reactive and proactive; on one hand they react to any proposed legislature, dealing with real estate or tourism proposed laws that have any tentacles that could possibly effect timeshare and on the other hand they write and lobby for legislature that could help timeshare owners.
Throughout the year, ARDA-ROC has lobbyists on retainer in up to 25 states, and territories, and who according to McKelvey “we HOPE the only thing we ever hear from them is an invoice.” These lobbyists monitor and pick through every piece of proposed legislature with a fine tooth comb, seeking things that are rarely specifically spelled out to say timeshare, but could be interpreted to have grand impact on it. And this is in addition to a fantastic group of State Directors who lead the lobbyist, make numerous visits to state capitals to ‘tell the story’ and our very strong and necessary presence with our capable staff in our Nation’s capital.
Writing retainer checks and relaxing is the hope because that means that nothing has been proposed that negatively effects the timeshare community, but without monitoring it the entire industry could be side swiped with fees, taxes and laws that forever change the situation, such as the USVI timeshare “fee” which could potentially be in excess of $300 week for all occupants. Imagine trying to exchange to the USVI with a new $300 fee, on top of maintenance fees and exchange fees, and travel costs. The three islands that make up the USVI quickly lose their appeal compared to other competing islands.
Many times these laws don’t intend to even impact timeshare, which exists in a strange, hard-to-define, world of its own, operating in limbo between resort and real estate. So, ARDA-ROC has to carefully carve out the pieces of legislature that didn’t intend to affect timeshare, but is packed with the potential. If they had nothing to react to, to chip away from legislation or to fight for an agreement on such as tax breaks then they would be very happy. Maybe a little bored, but happy.
Then there are the proactive operations of ARDA-ROC. They work as the biggest opponent against the menacing transfer companies that have unfortunately dragged the term timeshare through the mud for years. When the economy fell and everyone was unloading their luxury expenses, such as vacations, transfer companies flew in and took advantage. ARDA-ROC has proactively worked every day to propose draft legislation and lobby for laws that protect timeshare owners and their associations.
Because timeshare owners are not primary property owners and typically live outside of the state or territory their vacation home resides they do not get the opportunity to vote on issues that could impact their resort.
So, if you are wondering what ARDA-ROC is doing today, it’s anything but just paying lobbyist retainers and relaxing. Today, ARDA-ROC is looking out for timeshare owners. They are trying to make sure owner’s resorts don’t get hit with fees so high that they cannot survive. They are making sure associations are not disassembled overnight. They are trying to make sure faulty transfer companies cannot wiggle through any legal loopholes to operate and harm owners any longer. Today they are writing, monitoring, lobbying, watching and protecting. Tomorrow will be different issues, different legislatures to discuss, different conversations, different states and territories on the table, but the purpose of the day will be the same as the day they began standing as strong as a rock for owners and associations.