Senator Linda Stewart (D – Orlando) this week unanimously passed SB 898, known as “Miya’s Law” through its first committee of reference. The bill would improve tenant safety in apartment buildings through required background screenings of employees.
“I am thrilled with the committee’s decision. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes, and yesterday’s unanimous vote brings us a step closer to establishing important protections for all renters,” said Stewart.
The bill will require landlords to conduct background screenings 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.
“We are encouraged that the bill made it through the first committee. This is indeed an important first step towards making apartment living much safer for tenants. We truly wish it did not take the death of Miya to highlight the safety issues that tenants are often confronted with,” said Daryl K. Washington, Attorney and representative of the Marcano family.
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.
Marlon Marcano, Miya Marcano’s father and Board Member of the Miya Marcano Foundation, had the following to say after yesterday’s committee. “My entire family watched the Senate Committee meeting and was overcome with emotion. Our main focus is the protection of others and to ensure that no one will have to go through what we as a family are going through. I firmly believe this bill, Miya’s Law got it right with the unanimous vote that happened in the Community Affairs Committee meeting. We appreciate all of Senator Stewart’s hard work and dedication. Now we turn our focus to the Judiciary Committee and the Regulatory Committee in the House.”