ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law on Monday aimed at increasing physical safety for renters that was named after a 19-year-old woman believed to have been killed by a maintenance worker at her apartment complex.
SB-898, sponsored by Sen. Linda Stewart and Rep. Robin Bartleman, is named after Miya Marcano, who was found dead on Oct. 2 after vanishing a week prior. The governor signed the bill during a private ceremony.
The new law will require landlords to get a background check on apartment complex employees. People with a violent criminal history or anyone listed as a sexual offender or sexual predator will not be eligible for hire. Landlords will also have to give tenants 24 hours of notice before entering their apartments and keep a master log of who is accessing any master keys.
“While Miya’s family will never receive justice and nothing can bring back their daughter, I do hope that with this new law going into effect, in honor of Miya, that some peace will be brought to the family in knowing that their daughter’s death was not in vain,” Stewart said in a release.
According to a lawsuit filed by Miya’s family against the apartment complex, the maintenance man had a criminal history, a history of harassing women and unsupervised access to Miya’s apartment.
Marcano was last seen leaving the front office of the Arden Villas apartments where she worked near the University of Central Florida around 5 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2021, as shown in a surveillance photo released in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office final report.
The sheriff’s office and her family said she was supposed to fly to Fort Lauderdale that night but never made the flight.
Her body was found in a wooded area near Tymber Skan Condominiums off South Texas Avenue on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 2, just over one week after she was reported missing.
Orlando’s District Nine Medical Examiner’s Office determined Marcano died of “homicide by undetermined means,” according to the final Dec. 16 report.
Authorities determined 27-year-old Armando Caballero, a maintenance worker at the complex, as a person of interest in her disappearance after learning he had “demonstrated a romantic interest in Miya” but was rejected by her several times.
He was found dead from suicide at another apartment complex a few days after Marcano was reported missing, deputies said.