On November 12, 2021, Florida lawmakers filed "Miya's Law." State Rep. Robin Bartleman introduced the bill, and Florida Senator Linda Stewart introduced a Senate version of the bill. This law would ensure the safety of tenants in apartment complexes and enforce stricter protocols landlords would have to take in the hiring process of its employees. The legislative session convenes on January 11, 2022.
The History of "Miya's Law"
The killing of 19-year-old Miya Marcano prompted the law. She lived in an apartment complex, where the suspected person linked to the killing was an employee. The suspect had a criminal history and had access to a master key and used it to enter Marcano's apartment.
"Miya's Law" originally started as a petition to raise awareness for proper safety measures that apartment complexes should have in place. The petition has received over 79,500 signatures.
What Is "Miya's Law" Proposing?
- Requires landlords to conduct background screening for all apartment employees
- Background screening must include:
- Screenings specifically include criminal offenses involving violence or disregard for the safety of others
- Landlords are allowed to disqualify individuals with criminal records from employment
- Expand notice that staff has to give residence before entering their apartment from 12 hours to 24 hours
- Mandate a master key policy to limit and log who has access
Bartleman and Stewart released a statement with Stewart stating, "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 Florida Apartment Association (FAA) has also agreed that if "Miya's Law" is enacted would codify industries' best practices related to employee background screening and apartment access protocols.
Members of the Miya Marcano Foundation believe that had some regulations presented in "Miya's law" been in place, she would still be alive today.
Why Background Checks Are Important
Background checks are provided for employers so they can confirm verifications and other credentials, but also and most importantly ensure the safety of others.
Background checks are not just essential to consider for apartment complexes but many other industries when it comes to staff and employees having access to a person's living quarters or workspace. Industries such as:
- Senior living facilities
- Property managers
- Home healthcare
Doing backgrounds checks for industries like the ones mentioned above can help companies be proactive in preventing tragic outcomes and ensure the safety of their clients, staff, and employees. This is especially important for industries that are working with the vulnerable population.
How Orange Tree Can Help
Orange Tree provides many different screening services, including the specific services mentioned in "Miya's Law." We can help you with your hiring compliance and perform fast criminal background checks so you can make hiring decisions quickly.
Schedule a call to learn how we can help ensure your screening process is compliant with criminal background information.
We recommend employers review and discuss with your legal counsel your organization’s policies and procedures to ensure continued compliance with the changing laws and regulations.