Baltimore City government servers were infected with ransomware on Tuesday, May 7 of this year. The hackers demanded 13 bitcoins, about $100,000 today, in exchange for relinquishing their hold. The attack is one of more than 20 cyber attacks on municipalities in 2019, and community members are still feeling the effects. For example, the city’s lien system became inaccessible following the attack, and prospective homebuyers were unable to close on properties. At the end of May, the city introduced a “manual workaround” for prospective homebuyers. Read on to learn more.
Make a Request in Person
Baltimore City will accept requests for lien certificates at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building (200 North Holliday Street, Room 1). The transaction must be made in person between 7 am and 7 pm, Monday through Friday.
Sign an Affidavit
Sellers or transferors of property must sign an Affidavit for payment of outstanding charges. This Affidavit reaffirms the seller or transferor’s obligation to pay outstanding charges that would otherwise appear on a lien certificate.
Receive a City-Issued Lien Certificate
The city’s mainframe remains inaccessible, but prospective homebuyers can receive lien certificates showing zero liens and referencing the signed Affidavit. The certificate removes responsibility for paying property debts or settling liens from the new owner of the property. At this time, the responsible parties should pay all open liens by check or money order. Once prospective homebuyers have completed all steps, they can deliver the lien certificate with the attached Affidavit to Room 1B of the Abel Wolman Municipal Building.
The City of Baltimore processed 462 applications for property deeds during the first week of the “workaround,” according to the Mayor’s office.
By 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 after that for and on account of any charge or assessment against the subject property.
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