St. Petersburg, FL (September 25, 2013) — On August 11, 2013, a natural event known as a “sinkhole” occurred at Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, Florida. This affected a portion of the resort, individual timeshare owners and timeshare exchangers alike. As large and small media outlets sought to cover the story over the last several weeks, some took it upon themselves to publish inaccurate information that was either taken out of context or unconfirmed by Summer Bay Management. As a result, timeshare owners contacted the NTOA to learn more about what measures were being taken to protect and preserve owner rights.
The NTOA staff visited the resort and met with senior management to get an accurate accounting of events and to gain an understanding of the future plans for the affected area of the property. The NTOA and Summer Bay want owners and the community to be aware of factual issues and resolutions that may not have been previously published.
First, NTOA wishes to recognize the entire staff at Summer Bay for the exceptional actions regarding the safety and security of its guests on property during this period. Those impacted in the area of Building 104 and adjoining buildings were quickly evacuated by security when the sinkhole began. As a result of quick thinking and fast action, no one was injured and all owners and guests who were displaced were relocated either into other timeshare units on property or in some cases, to alternate accommodations off property.
Significant emergency cash was distributed for personal needs such as clothing and medicine and although there were no injuries, the Red Cross was brought on property to assist. Summer Bay also attempted to reconnect the guests with their vacation experience by providing free park and attraction tickets to families. They also took the unprecedented step of opening all food and beverage outlets on property to ALL guests at the resort for three (3) days following the incident.
It is also important to note that during the first 48 hours after the event, company representatives met with each and every family to ensure everyone’s individual needs were met. The only items that were not covered out of pocket by the developer were laptops and jewelry. Fortunately most of this was photographed, recovered and returned to the owners. At the time of this update, only three families had minor claims still being addressed by Summer Bay and the developer is making any and all attempts to satisfy these owners as a few items were unrecoverable.
Going forward, owners of Building 104 are being invited back to Summer Bay for a complimentary 3 night stay so that they are allowed to inspect the property, have their questions fully answered and determine what is their best course of action moving forward. The NTOA has learned that there are three options specifically for these owners at this time.
Option #1- Allows the affected owners to transfer their ownership on a like for like basis with no additional payment or increase in annual maintenance fees
Option #2- Allows the owner to take advantage of an upgrade taking 100% of the equity of the prior ownership and some special discounts that the developer will be offering
Option #3- A cancellation of the property obligations and a small insurance payout that will be applied to any outstanding balance prior to write off and cancellation.
It’s important to note that the NTOA believes that Summer Bay took actions that go well beyond the legal requirement of a developer. The company and its employees have shown a care and concern for its extended owner family that takes the word “hospitality” at face value. We encourage members, owners and the community to learn more at http://www.summerbayresort.com
Started in 1997, The NTOA is the largest independent association serving the timeshare community in the United States. Originally formed as the Maryland Timeshare Owners Association, the NTOA is focused on timeshare owners and the issues related to their vacation ownership. For more information on NTOA, please visit www.nationaltimeshareownersassoc.com
About SUMMER BAY
Summer Bay Resort Orlando, is a 350-acre resort with a 64-acre private lake, located 10 minutes from the Walt Disney World Resort® area. Activities on the lake include rental of canoes, wave runners, paddleboats and fishing boats for bass fishing. The resort features one, two and three-bedroom luxury villas, vacation homes, four swimming pools, kids water park, three restaurants, fitness center, live entertainment, a full-service concierge team and complimentary shuttle to the Walt Disney World Resort® and Universal Studios Orlando® Resort. For more information, go to www.summerbayresort.com.
Lisa Ann Schreier, Executive Director
National Timeshare Association