State lawmakers are considering a bill to ease licensing requirements for people who want to sell time shares as a way to stimulate the market.
“This would create jobs and help get people to the shore,” said Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, who sponsored the bill.
The legislation was passed unanimously by the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee last week and by the Senate Commerce Committee a few months earlier. An identical bill is working its way through the Assembly.
The idea for the bill came from officials at the FantaSea Resorts, a condominium and resort company that owns the Flagship in Atlantic City, a time share complex, Whelan said. About 90 real estate agents already work for FantaSea Resorts in South Jersey, he said. The company, whose representatives could not be reached for comment, wants the ability to take on more sales staff but wants potential candidates to go through an abbreviated licensing process, Whelan said.
At the moment, only the owners of time share units or sales agents who pass a real estate license are allowed to sell time shares. The proposed bill would create a new license class for time share salespeople, requiring them to be at least 18 years old and high school graduates who undergo criminal history record background checks, complete 30 hours of time share sales study and pass a licensing exam.
In contrast, real estate salespeople must complete 75 hours of course work and real estate brokers must complete 150 hours.
“The license should fit the responsibility of what you are doing,” Whelan said. “If you’re selling time shares, it’s a different product than selling real estate.”
New Jersey is among 30 states that require a real estate license to sell time shares. Ten other states have no licensing requirements and the other 10 require timeshare sales licenses, officials said.
Whelan said creating a new class of licensing balances the regulatory need with the business need of making it easier for companies to recruit job candidates, who may not want to invest the time and money into obtaining a real estate license.
“That certainly was part of it — to try to make it more attractive,” the state senator said.
The Office of Legislative Service said it could not estimate how much the bill would cost the state in adding new licensing requirements, but that fees, assessments and other payments would lead to increase revenue for the state.
Antoinette Dellafera, a Monmouth County resident who owns a time share at the Bluegreen at Atlantic Palace in Atlantic City, said she would welcome any move that would increase her chances of selling a unit she and her mother bought about four or five years ago.
But with a depressed economy, they have had little luck in selling the unit during the past year, contacting real estate brokers and and contracting with companies. Dellafera said part of the problem is that sales agents want to be paid ahead of time before they commit to taking on a time share.
“I don’t even know if it’s worth it,” she said.
New Jersey does allow the charging of upfront fees on a limited basis. However, the Department of Banking and Insurance warns consumers of scams involving the charging of upfront fees for no work.
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