The COVID-19 pandemic has put unprecedented strain on virtually all businesses. Restaurants and retailers have few patrons, and many office buildings are nearly empty as their former occupants work from home. Meanwhile, rent payments on these properties continue to come due each month.

If you sign a contract that requires arbitration of disputes, and then decide you don’t like the terms of the deal you’ve made, don’t expect the courts to let you bypass that arbitration.

California businesses are required to make reasonable accommodations to the needs of customers with disabilities. But what happens when a Californian who is blind is unable to shop on the website of a company based in another state?

It is common for California married couples who buy a home or other real estate to take title as joint tenants (usually to avoid probate if one spouse dies), but to regard it as community property. What happens when one of the spouses declares bankruptcy? Can the bankruptcy trustee seize the jointly owned property to satisfy the bankrupt spouse’s debts, or can the trustee only reach the debtor spouse’s 50 percent share?

Let’s say you own a ranch and, to make some extra cash, you sell the rights to extract oil, coal and other minerals that might lie under your land. Then you do some digging, and uncover a fossilized dinosaur skeleton.

Many property owners and tenants today are wondering about the legal implications of the Covid-19 virus on leases and real estate contracts. These issues can be complex, often involving paragraphs of dense legalese. Valensi Rose has prepared this plain-English summary of key areas in which the pandemic (and government efforts to deal with it) may affect leases and real estate contracts.