Homebuyers stress as thousands of house purchases frozen by cyber attack

Buyers and sellers have spoken of their their “serious stress” after a cyber attack affecting the property legal sector continues to wreak havoc in the housing market with property chains across the UK adversely impacted.

CTS, which provides IT services to law firms, said systems were still not back to normal after more than three weeks of disruption.

Conveyancers have found workarounds that have allowed many people to go ahead with purchases, as explained by Rob Hailstone, founder of the Bold Group, earlier this month.

However, the scale of the problems has still not been revealed by CTS.

The company said it was “working around the clock” to restore systems, and had made “significant progress”.

“This is a very complex situation and, at this time, our focus remains on restoring those clients whose systems have been disrupted,” it said. “We are keeping our clients updated and are in contact with the regulators.”

However, there is growing frustration among many of the individuals whose home moves and mortgage completions have been affected by law firms’ inability to access documents.

Many argue that there has been a lack of communication, with CTS refusing to go beyond issuing a holding statement.

A man in his mid-3o’s, who is buying a first home with his partner, said there had been few updates, and the last few weeks had been “seriously stressful”.

He said that he was still concerned about whether all his personal details were safe.

Alice Fenton and her family faced delays trying to complete the purchase of a property in south-east London.

The 35-year-old’s mortgage offer was extended by the loan provider, and she is set to finally move today. However, she described the experience as extremely stressful and chaotic when she spoke with the BBC over the weekend.

“We don’t know if we can complete on our new home,” she said.

Another homeowner affected, who did not want to be named, said he had been temporarily forced on to a more expensive variable rate mortgage because his new loan was unable to complete on time.

He and others have faced extra costs, but remain unclear about where to go for compensation.

A spokesman for the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which regulates CTS, said: “People have the right to expect that organisations will handle their personal information securely and responsibly. If an individual has concerns about how their data has been handled, they should raise it with the organisation first, then report them to us if they are not satisfied with the response.”

He said CTS had told the ICO about the incident and the regulator would be “making enquiries”.


Cyber-attack continues to leave home sales in limbo



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