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42 property sales processed through new in-person system to mitigate ransomware attack issues

Posted: 12:00 PM, May 21, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-21 16:03:45Z
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BALTIMORE — City of Baltimore personnel were able to process 42 applications for property deeds during the first day of the city’s manual work around as it continues to grapple with a ransomware attack that has crippled certain city services.

As Baltimore deals with its second week of computer issues caused by the ransomware attack that has taken some city services offline, officials developed a default plan to process home sales. Without computer records, officials could not verify lien certificates or outstanding bills on properties. Such transactions were temporarily arrested, halting the real estate market and causing residual fall out for businesses tied to home sales.

READ MORE: City begins work-around to get home sales moving amid ransomware

To mitigate the issue, people can come to the Abel Wolman Municipal Building, 200 N. Holiday St. Room 1, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. There, parties involved in home sales may request lien certificates, documents that verify if a property has outstanding tax debts or other municipal charges, in person. The seller of any property will be required to sign an affidavit obligating them to pay any outstanding charges within 10 days of receiving an invoice from the city, once the city can double check records on the property. While that system remains down, the city will issue certificates showing no liens, including a reference to the affidavit, so that the new owner is not responsible for debts, as that burden will rest with the seller.

“This solution to the pause in real estate transactions essentially removes any risk stemming from existing liens from the new owner of the property, allowing title insurance companies to continue with their normal course of business in Baltimore,” Mayor Jack Young’s office said in a statement. ” ... This process will protect a bona fide purchaser, the lender and their title insurer. In accordance with Article 28, Section 2-3(b) of the Baltimore City Code, upon the issuance of a lien certificate reporting no present liens, the City shall be barred from asserting any claim thereafter for and on account of any charge or assessment against the subject property. At the same time, the City preserves its right to collect such charges from the transferor as soon as those charges can be determined."