City Processes Hundreds of Real Property Transactions During First Week of Manual Workaround

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Bernard C. "Jack" Young
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425

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James E. Bentley II
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BALTIMORE, MD.  — The City of Baltimore processed 462 applications for property deeds during the first week of a manual workaround designed to allow real estate transactions to proceed during the City's technology outage. On a typical day, the office handles between 150-175 transactions. With the current pace, the office on Thursday exceeded its normal volume of daily transactions.

The City processed 42 applications on Monday, 90 on Tuesday, 142 on Wednesday, and 188 on Thursday.

Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young recently announced the workaround approach, which was developed to respond to technical problems created by the ransomware attack identified by the city on May 7, 2019.   Real estate transactions were halted because the city's property billing data was affected rendering the City unable to issue accurate lien certificates or collect on bills for municipal charges before a transaction closed. 

To accommodate citizens, the office that handles property transactions in the Abel Wolman Municipal Building at 200 N. Holliday Street, in Room 1, has been operating from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., and will continue through today. Next week, the office will return to normal hours of operation.  Under the workaround process, the City issues a manual lien certificate reporting no outstanding municipal liens due to the inability to access computer data while accepting from the seller an affidavit and a promise to pay any and all liens that are later identified when the computer systems are restored.  

This process protects 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 may not assert 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 seller as soon as those charges can be determined. 

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