Landlords of multi-family apartment buildings in Florida now have new legal obligations under “Miya’s Law.” The law, Senate Bill 898, creates a new Florida statute requiring landlords to conduct background screening on employees and develop policies governing the possession of keys. The law was passed in response to the tragic murder of Miya Marcano, an Orlando-area college student killed by a maintenance worker who had a master key fob for her apartment building.
Miya’s Law requires that landlords use a third-party consumer reporting agency to conduct a background check for all employees and new hires. The background check must include criminal history and sex offender registries for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The landlord “may disqualify” an individual who was convicted, found guilty, or entered a plea of guilty or guilty or nolo contendere to any of the following crimes:
- A criminal offense involving the disregard of the safety of others which, if committed in Florida, is a felony or a misdemeanor of the first degree or, if committed in another state, would be a felony or a misdemeanor of the first degree if committed in Florida or
- A criminal offense committed in any jurisdiction which involves violence, including, but not limited to, murder, sexual battery, robbery, carjacking, home-invasion robbery, and stalking.
Given that the statute permits, but does not require, the automatic disqualification of certain employees or applicants, landlords must carefully analyze whether a background check that finds a criminal history involving violence should result in the termination or refusal to hire that individual. Additionally, Miya’s Law requires landlords comply with the existing federal requirements regarding background checks established by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
In addition to the background check requirements, Miya’s law requires landlords to create a log on the possession of keys and increases the advance notice required to tenants before entering an apartment to conduct repairs. The statute requires compliance with some of these requirements as of July 1, 2022, so it is important to consult with legal counsel to avoid an unintentional violation.
Roger Feicht is a shareholder who assists businesses with employment law compliance. Roger has also successfully defended a class action lawsuit brought under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.