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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed the rent moratorium extension designed to save millions of people who are still struggling financially because of the pandemic.

The average Californian who is behind on rent owed $7,000 at the end of last year, according to the Federal Reserve. That amount does not include the six more months of unpaid rent in 2021.

California’s newly-passed plan will extend the rent moratorium through Sept. 30.

What’s owed will all be paid off for eligible tenants, dating back to April of last year.

Renters who are struggling are eligible for the assistance if they earn 80% or less of their area’s median income.

For renters who don’t meet that threshold, they can still qualify by paying 25% of what’s owed by Sept. 30.

Such a renter can be taken to court to recover what’s left but can’t be evicted for it.

With the uncertainty of how long the $5.2 billion worth of relief will take to flow from the state to landlords, representatives from the Sacramento Housing Alliance are advising renters to pay what they can.

Kendra Lewis with the Sacramento Housing Alliance joined Sonseeahray to discuss the extensions and what happens after them.

“Our advice is, what monies you have, pay your landlord,” said Kendra Lewis with the Sacramento Housing Alliance. “Do not not pay unless you don’t have anything. First and foremost, try to have an understanding and conversation with each other. There’s a lot of… Sac Self-Help, Sac Steps Forward, our organization and SHRA, helping the region make some progress. But first and foremost, just let your landlord know what your situation is.”

California Department of Housing and Community Development data shows that tenants have submitted at least $490 million in requests for rental assistance, but only $73 million has been handed out so far.