Senator Stewart, District 13 — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 12, 2021
Senator Linda Stewart and Representative Robin Bartleman Announce ‘Miya's Law' To Improve Apartment Safety
TALLAHASSEE, FL – Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) today filed SB 898 to create ‘Miya’s Law’ – a bill that would improve tenant safety in apartment buildings. Representative Robin Bartleman (D-Weston) will file the companion House bill.
‘Miya’s Law’ is inspired by and named for Miya Marcano, a 19-year-old college student who was tragically killed at her apartment in September of this year. Police believe the killer was a maintenance worker employed by the apartment, who, despite having a criminal record, was able to attain a master key to gain access to the apartment, where he waited for her to come home.
“Miya’s death is an awful tragedy – one that has put a spotlight on problems with apartment safety and security,” said Senator Stewart. “We’ve heard too many horror stories of some landlords disregarding the security of their tenants by issuing master keys to maintenance workers without running any background checks. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes and we are hopeful that ‘Miya’s Law’ will help make that a reality.”
The bill requires landlords to conduct background screening for all apartment employees. The background screening must include a national screening of criminal history records and sexual predator and sexual offender registries. The screening would specifically include criminal offenses involving violence or a disregard for the safety of others, and allow a landlord to disqualify individuals with criminal records from employment.
The bill also strengthens requirements regarding access to individual units, increasing the required notice to 24 hours and requiring apartments to establish policies for the issuance and return of all keys and maintain a key log to ensure that access is only given to authorized individuals at authorized times.
“As the parent of a daughter in a rental apartment at the University of Florida - it is my expectation that she is safe and will come home,” said Representative Bartleman. “Those were Miya’s parent’s expectations, and their lives are forever changed. This horrible tragedy helped shed light on gaping security holes that exist, and we must ensure the safety of all Floridians in multi-family rentals. Everyone has the right to expect safety in their own home. This bill and the work through the foundation will ensure the safety of not only our children but millions of families who rent in our state.”
Through the Miya Marcano Foundation, Miya’s family and loved ones have worked tirelessly to honor Miya’s legacy by ensuring that tenants are protected in their homes.
“On behalf of the Miya Marcano Foundation, we thank you for your continued support,” said Yma Suling Scarbriel, Miya's Mother and Marlon Marcano, Miya’s Father. “Our daughter meant the world to us. Although we still mourn the loss of Miya, we are sincerely grateful to everyone who has come together to help our family get Miya’s Law filed within the state of Florida. We firmly believe that passing ‘Miya’s Law’ will save lives. It is our hope that law makers on both sides unanimously vote to pass ‘Miya’s Law.’ Our daughter’s law can potentially save your daughter or loved one’s life, so when you go to vote, please think of Miya.”
There are approximately 1.4 million apartment units in Florida that are home to 2.8 million residents, according to We Are Apartments.
The Florida Apartment Association, which represents and advocates the interests of the Florida multifamily rental housing industry, provided the following statement regarding the bill:
“The Florida Apartment Association (FAA) and its members mourn the tragic loss of Miya Marcano. FAA is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Senator Stewart on “Miya's Law” which, if enacted, would codify industry best practices related to employee background screening and apartment access protocols. FAA looks forward to remaining engaged in this effort during the 2022 legislative session and thanks Senator Stewart and her legislative staff for their hard work on this legislation.”