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DeSantis signs 'Miya's Law' improving renter safety in honor of Orlando college student

The law increases the required notice for maintenance issues to 24 hours, among other provisions.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — "Miya's Law" now is on the books.

With Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' signature, a bill that aims to improve renter safety now is set to go into effect on July 1. The governor on Monday signed SB-898 which was named to honor 19-year-old Miya Marcano during a private ceremony, according to WKMG-TV.

The Florida college student's story caught national attention in 2021 when she disappeared on Sept. 24 shortly after a maintenance worker, Armando Caballero, was reported to have been seen letting himself into her apartment with a master key.

Caballero, who was said to have expressed unrequited interest in Marcano, was named a person of interest in her disappearance. Days later, the Orange County Sheriff's Office says he was found dead in an apparent suicide.

Marcano's body was found bound with duct tape around her wrists, feet and mouth on Oct. 2 in a wooded area in Central Florida. Authorities believe Caballero killed her.

"Miya's Law" strengthens requirements regarding access to individual units, increases required notice for maintenance to 24 hours, requires apartments to establish policies for issuing and returning keys and requires a key log to be maintained with access only given to authorized individuals.

Credit: Provided By Family Of Miya Marcano
Attorney Daryl Washington says Miya Marcano's co-worker, Armando Caballero, repeatedly made unwanted advances towards her. Washington says she always made it clear that she just wanted to be friends and colleagues, nothing else.

"Every tenant deserves to be safe in their own home," DeSantis said in a statement. "By signing this legislation, we are making it safer to live in a rental unit and giving renters more peace of mind in their homes."

"Miya’s death was a tragedy, and our prayers continue to be with the Marcano family. I am proud to act on their behalf to help prevent a tragedy like that from happening to another Florida tenant."

The law also includes a new provision that prohibits hourly rentals of "lodging establishments" in an effort to curb human trafficking.

"Today is the day we have all been waiting for. I’d like to thank the Governor for his approval of this very important bill, but I would also like to thank the many stakeholders and the group of bi-partisan supporters who all worked countless hours to get this bill to where we are today," said State Sen Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, who co-sponsored the bill, in a statement.

Marcano's parents and brother attended the bill signing event in Tallahassee, according to the Orlando Sentinel. 

"My daughter is my world," he said in a statement, according to the newspaper. "... With the passing of Miya’s Law, I am extremely grateful to everyone involved and I want the community to know that we will do everything we can to ensure what happened to our Miya doesn’t happen to anyone else."

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