'Miya's Law,' named after slain Orlando woman, signed into law to improve safety of apartment renters

Ever since her tragic death, Miya Marcano’s family has been fighting for change. They say they believe what happened to their 19-year-old daughter might have been avoided had there been more protections in place at her apartment complex. They’re now hopeful that Miya’s Law will help to make rental units safer for residents.

Miya’s Law focuses on providing more protection to tenants, providing them with more security measures to be sure no one is entering a Florida apartment they shouldn’t be inside.

Miya's Law, or Senate Bill 898, was officially signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday. It states that property owners must conduct a background check of any potential employee interested in working at the complex. Additionally, a log will need to be kept tracking each unit's set of keys, and if maintenance does need to access a unit, they need to give the tenant a 24-hour notice instead of the previously required 12 hours.

The changes come following the tragic death of Miya Marciano back in September 2021. The college student was killed at her Orlando apartment by her apartment maintenance man after he entered her apartment using an extra key fob, investigators said. 

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Miya’s family is hopeful these changes will make a difference.

"This is a thing of joy for not just the family, but for those who live in apartments and want to be safe. And they want to know that we're going to do the best we can to make them safe," said State Sen. Linda Stewart, one of the bill’s sponsors.

Separately from this law, a foundation has also been started in honor of Miya which launched an apartment accreditation program. It highlights complexes that have procedures in place to keep residents safe, giving tenants more insight and more protection.