I read this blog item by Gary Winter with interest because I too had read the news item he referred to and, like him, found the argument that fractional ownership is detrimental to the neighbourhood, well, frankly bizarre.
My involvement in fractional ownership and fractional renting came about specifically because I felt uneasy about owning a second home which I only used every other weekend. It didn’t seem fair on the community, we weren’t contributing to the local economy and it was a waste of (very pretty) resources. I wanted to find someone who would use it the other weekends, found it difficult and yours2share developed out of my frustration.
Buyers in any community will be one of the following: owner occupiers, landlords buying to let permanently, second home owners, fractional owners or timeshare buyers.
Yes, the ideal for any community are owner occupiers. Permanent landlords are OK, but too many can cause issues as whole areas become inhabited by tenants.
But as society becomes increasingly affluent, more and more people want second home. Of these, fractional owners strike me as the best. Second home owners are rarely there, so they make little contribution to the community. Worse, they often let the property for holidays, and holiday tenants make no contribution to the community, have no reason to take any particular care of the property, and really can be detrimental to the comunity. Timeshare “owners” are better because they return each year, which usually leads to some pride in the property and because there are always people occupying the property, so they collectively contribute to the local economy.
Fractional owners visit for several weeks a year, so they will all become part of the community, contribute to the local economy and, because they have a significant financial stake, take pride in the property. But there is only one owner present at any one time: the concept that fractional owners will have the same “impact on a library as if 12 people used one library card” is completely mistaken, well actually bonkers.
So to the real issue, will fractional owners lower the tone of the neighbourhood? In practice, I just don’t see this happening. Most fractional ownership properties are valuable: larger 4/5 bedroom houses in highly desirable areas. Which is why their neighbours are viewing any change in the type of potential owners with alarm, even if I believe it is misplaced. 1/6 or even 1/10 shares in these properties are still relatively expensive as second homes. The owners probably also have sizeable managment fees. The fractional buyers are probably at least equivalent in affluence to their owner-occupying neighbours. Unless perhaps all the local properties are second homes – but then the place will be virtually deserted and there will be no local community to notice!
I’m not a legal expert, but I can see no way of preventing this that would not also prevent two brothers/friends etc buying a property together and this is surely not sensible. Attempting to define fractional owners as those that have a formal contract is also unhelpful. Family and friends buying together should also always have a written contract.