NEW YORK - The city's public housing authority says thousands of its tenants are currently behind on paying their rent.

NYCHA says 17,000 tenants are more than three months behind on their rent.

Uncollected rents now total about $55 million.

NYCHA released a statement saying, "While we often work with our residents to keep them in their homes and termination is never our preferred route, we unfortunately at times must take action when residents fail to pay their rent after we have conducted extensive outreach to find another solution."

The news comes days after U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced the deadline to pick a federal monitor to oversee NYCHA is extended until September 12.

The position came out of a settlement between the city and the federal government after investigators found housing officials covered up problems with lead paint, mold and heating for years.