Bernalillo County ransomware attack impacts realtors, housing market

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bernalillo County announced that some of their online systems are back up and running Friday. But, the last 10 days have been a headache for people trying to file important documents like marriage licenses or transferring the title or deed of a new home.

“I will tell you, I have been a licensee realtor for 25 years and this is a first for me this is absolutely a first for me,” said Bridget Gilbert, president of the Albuquerque Association of Realtors.

Gilbert said the ransomware attack that hit Bernalillo County also hit some of her sales.

“We had a closing and one of my brokers came in and asked if we had ever seen this happen before, and it was a special affidavit talking about the fact that they couldn’t get it recorded, and then, naturally, we heard about it in the news,” Gilbert said.

Since the county couldn’t record the transfers, this meant extra steps for both the buyers and the sellers. They even had to get “gap” insurance to cover any delays the attack caused.

“Two things need to happen – there are some affidavits that are being completed by buyers and sellers letting them know the situation and what their responsibilities are and lenders need to accept that they will be funding without the deed being recorded until a later date,” Gilbert said.

Finally that ‘later date’ has come. The county announced Friday evening that important departments and offices, like the County Clerk’s Office, are back online after days in the dark.

“I kinda feel sorry for the county right now with everything going on, but at some point they will have to record everything that is going on in these past few days,” Gilbert said.

Tom Thorpe, county spokesperson, shared the following statement with KOB 4:

"The clerk’s office is fully restored. Online forms and services are available. And the backlog will be cleared before new applications are added.”

Thorpe added the clerk’s office will be getting to work clearing that backlog this weekend and they are hopeful to be caught up by the beginning of next week.

Now that the county is able to record important documents again, realtors like Gilbert can breathe a sigh of relief.

“I’m really pleased because, initially, we were all up in arms and we haven’t talked to anyone who has had this happen to them. I just think the initial panic of ‘oh my gosh did you hear what happened?’ and ‘what are we going to do?’ and ‘have you seen this before?’ so once we got over that. everybody started working towards those solutions,” Gilbert said.

The following Bernalillo County offices have reopened:

  • Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC)
  • Probate Court
  • Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office
  • Behavioral Health
  • Planning and Development Services (PDS)
  • Treasurer’s Office
  • Parks Recreation and Open Space
  • Animal Care Services
  • Emergency and public safety are in full operation