TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – There is no requirement in state law requiring that apartment complexes conduct background checks on potential employees, but following the September killing of a 19-year-old college student in Central Florida, her parents and a group of bipartisan lawmakers have filed legislation to make background checks mandatory.
Authorities believe Miya Marcano was killed in her own apartment by an infatuated 27-year-old maintenance employee who had access to a master key.
“She’s not coming back home and this was very preventable,” said Miya’s mother Yma Scarbriel.
Miya’s mother and father were in the Capitol supporting legislation named for their daughter on Wednesday.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes. Miya’s Law will help make that a reality,” said State Senator Linda Stewart.
The four-page bill would require thorough criminal and sex offender background checks for every employee at an apartment complex.
“What is important now is that no other family has to deal with the grief that our family has had to deal with,” said Miya’s father Marlon Marcano.
Amanda White with the Florida Apartment Association said everything in the bill is already best practices, although not mandatory.
“The passage of this legislation would just ensure consistent application of those best practices across the state,” said White.
But those not complying if the bill becomes law could lose their right to rent.
“From there is they don’t get it done in 30 days, they may get a fine. And if they don’t get it done the next time they come by to check on them, they could have their license taken away, so there is a follow up to this,” said Stewart.
The 27-year-old worker believed to be responsible for her death committed suicide days after the murder.
“Justice has not been served,” said Scarbriel.
Lawmakers come back to the Capitol for their annual session on Jan. 11.
A hearing on the bill is promised during the first week.
In addition to requiring background checks, the legislation also increases the amount of notice a complex must give to a resident before entering the apartment from twelve to twenty-four hours.