Florida Bill Requires Background Checks for Apartment Building Employees

Criminal Background Check

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On November 12, 2021, Florida State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) filed Senate Bill 898 (SB 898) – also known as “Miya’s Law” – to improve tenant safety in apartments by requiring landlords to conduct background checks on all apartment building employees, according to a press release from the Florida Senate website.

“Miya’s Law” is inspired by and named for Miya Marcano, a 19-year-old college student who was tragically killed at her apartment in September of 2021. Police believe Miya’s killer was a maintenance worker with a criminal record who attained a master key to gain access to the apartment and waited for her to come home.

“We’ve heard too many horror stories of some landlords disregarding the security of their tenants by issuing master keys to maintenance workers without running any background checks. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their homes and we are hopeful that ‘Miya’s Law’ will help make that a reality,” Stewart stated in the press release.

“Miya’s Law” requires landlords to conduct background checks on apartment building employees that include a national screening of criminal records and sex offender registries. Offenses involving violence or a disregard for the safety of others would allow landlords to disqualify individuals with criminal records from employment.

“Miya’s Law” also strengthens requirements regarding access to individual apartment units, increasing the required notice to 24 hours and requiring apartments to establish policies for the issuance and return of all keys and maintain a key log to ensure that access is only given to authorized individuals at authorized times.

“This horrible tragedy helped shed light on gaping security holes that exist, and we must ensure the safety of all Floridians in multi-family rentals. Everyone has the right to expect safety in their own home,” Florida State Representative Robin Bartleman (D-Weston), who will file the companion House bill, stated in the press release.

The Florida Apartment Association (FAA) said that, if enacted, “‘Miya’s Law’ would codify industry best practices related to employee background screening and apartment access protocols.” There are approximately 1.4 million apartment units in Florida that are home to 2.8 million residents, according to the press release.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a global background check provider ranked the #1 screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – offers employers comprehensive background checks for employment purposes so they can make compliant and informed hiring decisions. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

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