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462 property applications processed through ransomware work around

Posted: 11:46 AM, May 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-24 11:46:50-04
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BALTIMORE — After fears the Baltimore real estate market would ground to a halt as the ransomware attack that has slowed or crippled city hall impeded processing the paper work needed for home sales, the city has processed 462 applications for property deeds in the past week utilizing a workaround.

Beginning with 42 such applications processed on Monday , the number slowly climbed all week, with 90 processed on Tuesday, 142 on Wednesday, and 188 on Thursday, Mayor Jack Young said in a statement. The city typically processes 150 to 175 property transactions on a typical day, or between 650-875 a week, leaving the current rate still slightly less than normal.

After the city’s property billing data was affected by the May 7 computer attack, a work around was devised to alleviate new buyers from assuming unknown financial liabilities on their new homes. Typically, when a home is being purchased, a review of the property's outstanding debts is performed, so that old tax issues or liens can be dealt with prior to sale. Without the ability to check that history through online city records, sellers must sign affidavits saying that there are no liens on the property currently, and if any do surface, the seller is responsible to alleviate those debts.

To accommodate the new buyers and sellers trying to navigate the workaround, the city has directed those conducting property transactions to come to the Abel Woman Municipal Building, 200 N. Holiday Street, Room 1, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Next week, the office will return to normal hours.