New rules for Florida landlords, property managers to start Jan. 1

Under ‘Miya’s Law,’ landlords will be required to keep an accurate log of everyone who has been issued a copy of an apartment key & employees must undergo background checks

New rules for Florida landlords and property managers take effect next week as the new year begins.

One new law — CS/SB 898 — seeks to keep tenants of apartment complexes and rental properties safer. Some provisions of “Miya’s Law” have already gone into effect, but beginning Sunday, Jan. 1, landlords will be required to keep an accurate log of everyone who has been issued a copy of an apartment key. Also, employees must undergo background checks.

They’re steps that state leaders hope will prevent what happened to Miya Marcano, who the law is named after, from happening again.

According to authorities, it’s believed that Marcano, a 19-year-old college student, was killed by a maintenance employee at the apartment complex where she lived and worked the Orlando area who had access to the master key.

Following the discovery of Marcano’s body on Oct. 2, 2021, about a week after she disappeared, her family and others lobbied for stronger laws governing those entrusted with access to someone else’s living space.

Miya Marcano

Earlier this year, that legislation was passed and signed into law, with certain parts of it taking effect on Jan. 1.

All employees of any licensed lodging establishment must get a criminal and sex offender background check.

The complex where Marcano lived said that all employees were vetted through a national background check system and that no burglary or sexual assault records came up for the maintenance worker.

The law also requires landlords and property managers to keep a detailed log of who has been given a key to each apartment and set up a system for returning and keeping track of them.

Any renter who breaks these rules could lose their license and their legal right to rent in the state of Florida.

“Actually, you know, we’re there 50 years late, as far as I’m concerned, but I don’t see any real problem with it,” said Paul Howard, president of the Florida Landlord Network.

Howard said a lot of these rules are already in practice.

“It’s a reasonable accommodation for the tenant. The tenant should feel safe and secure in their home, and I don’t see a problem with that,” Howard said. “The larger communities are already doing all of this because of the liability on the other things that go along with it.”

It’s also worth noting that those new rules will only apply to properties that have five or more family units — but not for single-family homes, duplexes. triplexes or quad units.