ORLANDO, Fla. – A new statewide law, which requires more safety protections for tenants, technically went into effect earlier this month, but News 6 investigators found state inspectors will not be able to enforce many of the new protections until next year.
Miya’s Law gained national recognition, in part because of the woman who inspired the changes. Miya Marcano was living in an Orlando-area apartment complex aimed at providing housing for college students when detectives say she was killed by a maintenance worker. Detectives say the man had a master key to her unit.
“I think it just did not come to people’s attention how inadequate the protections were,” said Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, who was instrumental in passing the bill. “You can’t just give everyone a master key.”
Miya’s Law requires, in part, national background checks for all potential hires at apartment complexes, 24-hour notice from landlords before entering for maintenance repairs, and a master key log showing who has access to each unit and when.
While the law is technically in effect, Florida’s Division of Hotels and Restaurants will not be able to enforce most of the law until January 2023.
“Even though those particular requirements in the bill do not go into effect until January of 2023, there is no reason why a renter can’t ask a perspective community that they are looking to move into if they are already doing those things,” said Amanda White, a spokesperson for the Florida Apartment Association who advocated for Miya’s Law during the previous legislative session.
“You have an opportunity and the power as a consumer to make an informed decision,” White told News 6. “So walk that property. Walk it at night. Walk it during the day.
“Make sure you feel comfortable living there and ask that apartment community what those safety procedures are. If they want your business and want you to call their community home, which I know they will, they will be happy to share all that information with you.”
White also recommends paying attention to the design and needs of the community you’re looking to live in.
“You can have a garden-style apartment where perhaps the hallways are exposed to the outside,” White said. “You might have different tools in place for safety than you would maybe a downtown high rise with a parking garage.”
All of Miya’s law will be enforced by the Division of Hotels and Restaurants, under the Department of Business & Professional Regulations. Inspectors will begin checking compliance during annual inspections, starting in 2023.