Hackney cyber attack causes property buyers’ deals to fall through

You may remember hearing several months ago that the London Borough of Hackney had been targeted by a cyber attack.

The council provided few details at the time, but the evidence suggested that it was a ransomware infection.

That became even more likely after Hackney Council released a statement explaining myriad issues that it was having as a result of the attack. This includes issues:

  • Providing housing benefits and supplier payments;
  • Accepting payments for rent, service charges, council tax and business rates;
  • Processing applications to join the borough’s housing waiting list; and
  • Processing license payments and other planning services.

However, the problems didn’t stop there, as there are now reports that property purchases in the borough have fallen through because of ongoing disruptions.

According to the BBC, the problem stems from the council being unable to process land searches.

One buyer, who did not want to be named, said her purchase fell through last week, because the solicitors in her chain were unhappy about the lack of land searches attached to the purchase.

As well as missing out on the property she said she had also lost nearly £2,000 in fees.

Another buyer, James Cunningham said he had been renting in Hackney but was looking to buy in the area and had an offer accepted on a flat.

‘The end of my rented tenancy lined up perfectly with my estimated completion date, in addition to comfortably falling within the stamp duty holiday,’ he said.

Now, even if the sale goes through, I will need to find a short term let, and possibly find the tens of thousands of pounds required to pay stamp duty.’

Hackney Council has since confirmed the problem:

The council adds that it hopes to have a partial land search service available in the coming weeks and has provided advice for those affected by this issue.

However, that will be of little solace to the people who were expecting to complete their purchase imminently or who have already had their deals fall through.

Subscribe to our Weekly Round-up