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Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state Legislature acted Monday to avert a housing crisis by approving legislation to extend protections against evictions by five months for California renters facing financial hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newsom signed the bill just before midnight, hours after it was approved in two-thirds votes of both houses of the state Legislature on Monday, the last day of this year’s session.

“COVID-19 has impacted everyone in California — but some bear much more of the burden than others, especially tenants struggling to stitch together the monthly rent, and they deserve protection from eviction,” Newsom said in a statement announcing the signing. “This new law protects tenants from eviction for non-payment of rent and helps keep homeowners out of foreclosure as a result of economic hardship caused by this terrible pandemic.”

The bill takes effect immediately as previous protections are set to expire at midnight Tuesday.

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