Real Estate Attorneys


Mortgage Loan Attorneys

Michael T. Chulak & Associates has extensive experience in real estate and mortgage law, including mortgage and appraisal fraud. Our real estate attorneys provide transactional, consulting and litigation services throughout California including the following areas:

• Malibu • Santa Barbara • Ventura
• Simi Valley • Moorpark • Santa Clarita Valley
• Stevenson Ranch • Castaic • Ojai
• Topanga • Santa Rosa Valley • Beverly Glen
• Pacific Palisades • Palisades Highlands • Bel Air
• Brentwood • Piru • Montecito
  • Fillmore  

Free Legal Seminars

for Real Estate Brokers and Agents

Buying and Selling Condominiums

The law offices of Michael T. Chulak & Associates is pleased to provide free legal seminars for residential real estate brokerage offices located in Los Angeles County and Ventura Country. Become an expert in representing buyers and sellers of condominiums and avoid lawsuits.


Mortgage Fraud 

Mortgage fraud involves an action where the intent is to materially misrepresent or omit information on a real estate loan application in order to obtain a loan that would not otherwise be available to the borrower.  Mortgage fraud is a violation of federal law that can result in imprisonment for ten to thirty years.  It is investigated by the FBI.  Thus it is a serious crime.


Mortgage Loan Fraud Examples 

Appraisal Fraud:  Takes place when the value of a property is intentionally overstated or understated.   When overstated, more money can be borrowed against the property than what would be justified by a proper appraisal.  When understated, in order to obtain a lower price on a foreclosed property, or to induce a lender to decrease the amount owed on a real estate loan in a loan modification, appraisal fraud has taken place.

Employment Fraud:  Takes place when a borrower claims self-employment in a non-existent business or claims a higher level position in an existing business in which the applicant is employed, in order to obtain a mortgage loan. 

Income Fraud:  Takes place when a borrower overstates his or her income on a loan application in order to qualify for a loan.  This commonly occurs with "stated income mortgage loans" where the lender does not verify the income claimed on the loan application.   

Occupancy Fraud:  Takes place when the borrower intends to purchase an investment (rental) property, but represents on the loan application, that he or she intends to occupy the property as a primary residence or as a second home.  Lenders charge higher interest rates and generally lend a smaller percentage of the fair market value to borrowers who intend to rent their property because default rates are higher with such properties.  In such cases, the borrower has committed mortgage loan fraud because he or she has materially misrepresented the risk to the mortgage lender in order to obtain better loan terms. 

Cash Back Arrangements:  Take place where the price of the property is fraudulently increased in escrow with cash being returned to the buyer-borrower outside of escrow, in order to increase the loan amount and loan to value ratio.  The result is that the mortgage lender loans more money than what it would normally lend making an unsafe loan.  This arrangement would require a fraudulent appraisal.

Identity Theft Loans:  Take place when an individual assumes the identity of a property owner and then uses that identity to borrow money using the property as security.

Shotgunning:  Takes place when several mortgage loans are obtained simultaneously for an amount far in excess of the value of the property and without the knowledge of the other real estate lenders.  Every lender believes it is obtaining a first priority position but only one lender obtains priority over others who often lose their investment.

Use of Multiple "Holding Companies":  Takes place when the owner of a property "sells" the property from one controlled entity to another multiple times in order to create documentation and the appearance of sales (at inflated prices).  This is done in order to justify a high appraisal that is then used to obtain a high loan amount.


Partition of Real Estate

Partition is a legal action in which a co-owner of real property files a lawsuit in order to obtain a court order forcing one or more of the following:

  • Sale of the real estate
  • Division of the property, and/or
  • Division of the profits from the property.

Generally, a partition order by the court provides for an appraisal of the property which establishes either the sale price of the property or the price at which one co-owner can purchase the interest of another co-owner.

Partition suits or actions rarely result in court trials. Partition suits usually result in forcing the co-owners to either voluntarily sell the property or work out a purchase-sale between them.

Partition actions are most common in the following situations:

  • Partnership disputes
  • Corporate dissolutions
  • Property is inherited by people having different objectives. One wants to sell the other wants to retain the property
  • Destruction of a condominium building or other co-owned building (by fire, earthquake, landslide, mudslide or otherwise) where the issue of reconstruction is at issue.

For additional information on partition litigation or any real estate matter, please contact us for a no cost initial consultation.


Judicial Foreclosures

Foreclosures of real property can be by judicial foreclosure or non-judicial foreclosure. Michael T. Chulak & Associates represents clients who are required to foreclose on real estate and elect judicial foreclosure in order to collect money owing. We also represent clients in avoiding judicial foreclosure.

The types of properties most likely to be foreclosed by means of judicial foreclosure are:

  • Rental homes
  • Income properties
  • Land


In addition, homes subject to homeowner association liens can, and are generally foreclosed by judicial foreclosure when assessments or dues are not paid.

Judicial foreclosures are started by the filing of a lawsuit seeking an order for sale and money judgment.

The judgment can be collected by the sale of the property, wage garnishment, bank account levy, rent levy or other methods.

Judicial foreclosures maximize the opportunity to collect from all available sources of the debtor.

Lawsuits for judicial foreclosures rarely go to trial. Most of these lawsuits result in payment before the need to actually foreclose on the property.

Nuisances and Restraining Orders

The attorneys at Michael T. Chulak & Associates represent clients in abating nuisances and in defending nuisance claims. We also represent clients in obtaining and defending against restraining orders.

Nuisance is defined in California Civil Code Section 3479 as:

Anything which is injurious to health, including, but not limited to, the illegal sale of controlled substances, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.

Nuisance is also defined in most CC&Rs of common interest developments. These definitions are generally much more broad than the statutory definition. In fact, many homeowner associations are amending their CC&Rs for the purpose of creating broad language that can be used to abate many types of undesirable activities. In addition, some associations are amending their CC&Rs to permit the board of directors to determine whether a nuisance exists.

A common nuisance provision found in CC&Rs follows:

No noxious or offensive activities shall be conducted within or upon any portion of the Property nor shall anything be done or permitted within any Unit which is or could become an unreasonable annoyance or nuisance to the neighborhood.

Without limiting any of the foregoing, no Owner shall permit noise of any sort (including, but not limited to, barking dogs, the operation of air conditioners, stereo amplifier systems, television sets, motor vehicles and power tools) to emanate from an Owner's Unit or any portion of the Common Area which would unreasonably disturb other Owners' enjoyment of their Units or the Common Area. Excessive noise levels may be determined in the sole discretion of the Board which may, but shall not be obligated to rely on state law.

The following elements must be proven in a court of law to prevail on a nuisance claim:

  • That the plaintiff owned, leased, occupied or controlled the property;
  • That the defendant created a condition that (one or more):

    • was harmful to health
    • was indecent or offensive to the senses
    • was an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property.
  • That this condition interfered with the plaintiff's use or enjoyment of his or her property;
  • That the plaintiff did not consent to the defendant's conduct;
  • That an ordinary person would be reasonably annoyed or disturbed by the defendant's conduct;
  • That the plaintiff was harmed;
  • That the plaintiff's conduct was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff's harm; and
  • That the seriousness of the harm outweighs the benefit of the defendant's conduct.

Call us for a no cost initial consultation concerning any real estate, mortgage or other legal matter.  Please visit: Piercing the Corporate Veil, Attorneys Fees Provisions, Free Credit Repair, Attorney - Client Privilege, Real Estate Recovery Fund, Glossary of Real Estate Loan Terms and Punitive Damages.



Real Estate, Mortgage and Mortgage / Appraisal Fraud Attorneys

Free Legal Seminars

Franchise Attorneys

Business Formations

Homeowner Association Questions and Answers


"As Is" Real Estate Contracts

An "as is" clause in a real estate purchase and sale contract does not insulate the transferor or seller from the duty to disclose defects or the requirements of California Civil Code 1102 et seq. "As is" language serves to give notice of patent defects and means that the buyer accepts the property condition which it is reasonably observable by him or her. If augmented by language indicating that the buyer is relying on his or her own inspection of the property, it may also relieve the seller of the duty to inspect for defects or to disclose matters that the seller should know but does not. Also, "as is" language in a real estate sales contract does not protect a seller from liability for fraud.

In California, sellers of residential real estate have a legal duty to disclose any facts materially affecting the value or desirability of the property that are known or accessible only to the seller and not known to or within reach of the diligent attention and observation of the buyer. (California Civil Code Section 1102 et seq.) Notwithstanding, sellers are not liable for latent defects in property of which he or she did not know about and had no reason to believe existed.

Transferors of residential real estate must provide purchasers with a Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement ("transfer disclosure statement"). Any attempt to waive this requirement is void as against public policy. This requirement applies to a sale, exchange, installment land sale contract, lease with an option to purchase, any other option to purchase, or ground lease coupled with improvements. Delivery of the transfer disclosure statement must be by personal delivery or by mail to the prospective transferee.

The transfer disclosure statement form includes the transferor's disclosure of information regarding all of the following:

The physical condition of the property;
The existence of hazardous materials or dangerous conditions;
Encumbrances on the property, including any encroachments;
Easements or other matters which may affect the other party's interest in the property; and
Lawsuits against the seller threatening to affect or affecting the property.

Transferors of residential property must also disclose to potential buyers, if applicable, that the property is in a natural hazard area, that the property is subject to a lien created under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act, or is subject to an assessment lien collected in installments to secure bonds issued pursuant to the Improvement Bond Act of 1915. In addition, cities or counties may require that sellers or their agents deliver to purchasers the Local Option Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement as set forth in the California Civil Code.



Expert Witnesses and Consultants Needed

In connection with our extensive litigation practice, Michael T. Chulak & Associates regularly utilizes the services of expert witnesses and consultants. If you believe you have the knowledge, experience and overall ability to provide these services, we invite you to complete an application and return it with your current resume. Upon receipt, we will enter the information into our database for use by our litigation attorneys and support staff. Please view our websites to become familiar with our areas of practice.

Franchise Your Real Estate or Mortgage Business

The attorneys with Michael T. Chulak & Associates can provide you with the legal services needed to franchise your real estate brokerage or mortgage business for a fixed legal fee. Payment plans are available and we may accept all or a part of your fee based upon barter. Call us to discuss your plans to develop a franchised business. Initial consultations are provided at no cost.

Free Estate Planning Seminars

Please visit for a schedule of free estate planning and other legal seminars that we offer. Valuable information will be provided followed by a question answer session. This is an opportunity to ask questions of an attorney at no cost and without any obligation. We hope to meet you in person at one or more of our legal seminars.

Real Estate Broker Agent Referrals

Since our law practice has involved consulting with and representing numerous real estate brokers and agents throughout Southern California over many years, we have developed a list of real estate brokers and agents that we will refer to our clients and a list of brokers and agents that we would definitely not refer to our clients. If you need a referral in connection with the purchase or sale of any property or business in Los Angeles County or Ventura County, please call us.



The information presented on this site was prepared for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It should not be relied upon as a substitute for consulting with a licensed attorney in your state. The law is constantly changing. In addition, the information presented may not be up - to - date or 100% complete. Our attorneys are licensed to practice law in California and seek to represent clients only in California. Sending us an email or other communication does not create an attorney - client relationship. Only signing a retainer agreement will establish an attorney - client relationship. This is an advertisement.

Areas Served:

Los Angeles County:

Acton, Agoura, Agoura Hills, Agua Dulce, Alhambra, Altadena, Arcadia, Arleta, Artesia, Avalon, Azusa, Baldwin Hills, Baldwin Park, Bassett, Bell, Bell Canyon, Bell Gardens, Bellflower, Beverly Hills, Bouquet Canyon, Box Canyon, Burbank, Calabasas, Calabasas Hills, Canoga Park, Canyon Country, Carson, Castaic, Century City, Cerritos, Chatsworth, Claremont, Commerce, Compton, Covina, Cudahy, Crystalaire, Culver City, Del Sur, Diamond Bar, Downey, Duarte, East Los Angeles, East Rancho Dominguez, El Monte, El Segundo, Encino, Firestone Park, Flintridge, Gardena, Glassell, Glassell Park, Glendale, Glendora, Granada Hills, Hacienda Heights, Hawaiian Gardens, Hansen Dam, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach, Hidden Hills, Highland Park, Hollywood, Huntington Park, Industry, Inglewood, Irwindale, La Canada Flintridge, La Crescenta- Montrose, La Habra Heights, La Mirada, La Puente, La Verne, La Canada, Lake Hughes, Lake Los Angeles, Lake View Terrace, Lakewood, Lancaster, Lawndale, Leimert Park, Lennox, Leona Valley, Lincoln Heights, Littlerock, Lomita, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Lynwood, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, Marina Del Rey, Maywood, Mission Hills, Monrovia, Monte Nido, Montebello, Monterey Park, Mount Baldy, Mount Wilson, Newhall, North El Monte, North Hills, North Hollywood, Northridge, Norwalk, Pacoima, Palisades, Palmdale, Paramount, Pearblossom, Pico Rivera, Pomona, Quartz Hill, Rancho Dominguez, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rancho Park, Redondo Beach, Reseda, Ritter Ranch, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates, Rosemead, San Dimas, San Fernando, San Gabriel, San Marino, San Pedro, Santa Clarita, Santa Fe Springs, Santa Monica, Saratoga Hills, Saugus, Sherman Oaks, Sierra Madre, Signal Hill, South El Monte, South Gate, South Pasadena, Stevenson Ranch, Studio City, Sun Valley, Sun Village, Tarzana, Temple City, Toluca Lake, Topanga, Torrance, Tujunga, Universal City, Val Verde, Valencia, Valley Village, Van Nuys, Venice, Vernon, Walnut, Walnut Park, West Covina, West Hills, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, West Toluca Lake, Westchester, Whittier, Wilmington, Windsor Hills, Winnetka, Woodland Hills.

Ventura County:

Camarillo, Channel Islands, Faria Beach, Fillmore, Moorpark, Newbury Park, Oak Park, Oak View, Ojai, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Santa Paula, Saticoy, Somis, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, Ventura (San Buenaventura), Westlake Village.

Orange County:

Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Balboa Island, Brea, Buena Park, Corona Island, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Foothill Ranch, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Palma, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forrest, Los Alamitos, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Orange, Placentia, Rossmoor, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Santa Ana Heights, Seal Beach, Stanton, Tustin, Tustin Foothills, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda.

San Bernardino County:

Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Big Bear, Big Bear City, Chino, Chino Hills, Colton, Crestline, Fontana, Grand Terrace, Hesperia, Highland, Joshua Tree, Lake Arrowhead, Landers, Loma Linda, Montclair, Morongo Valley, Needles, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Rialto, Running Springs, San Bernardino, Twentynine Palms, Upland, Victorville, Yucaipa, Yucca Valley.

Riverside County:

Anza, Banning, Beaumont, Bermuda Dunes, Blythe, Cabazon, Calimesa, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Cherry Valley, Coachella, Corona, Desert Hot Springs, East Blythe, East Hemet, El Cerrito, Glen Avon, Hemet, Highgrove, Home Gardens, Homeland, Idyllwild-Pine Cove, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, Lake Elsinore, Lakeland Village, Lakeview, Mecca, Mira Loma, Moreno Valley, Murrieta, Murrieta Hot Springs, Norco, Nuevo, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Pedley, Perris, Quail Valley, Rancho Mirage, Riverside, Rubidoux, San Jacinto, Sun City, Sunnyslope, Temecula, Thousand Palms, Valle Vista, Wildomar, Winchester, Woodcrest.

Santa Barbara County:

Ballard, Buellton, Carpinteria, Gaviota, Goleta, Guadalupe, Hollister Ranch, Hope Ranch, Isla Vista, Lompoc, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Mission Canyon, Mission Hills, Montecito, Orcutt, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Santa Ynez, Solvang, Summerland, Toro Canyon

San Luis Obispo County:

Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Avila Beach, Baywood-Los Osos, Cambria, Cayucos, Grover Beach, Lake Nacimiento, Los Osos, Morro Bay, Nipomo, Oceano, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, San Miguel, San Simeon, Santa Margarita, Templeton.
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