“Miya’s Law”: In Honor of Charles W. Flanagan High School Graduate, Miya Marcano

July 7, 2022

College student Miya Marcano had been missing for over a week last year when her body was found not far from her home. She was last seen at the Arden Villas Apartment Complex in Orlando, where she lived. Miya was allegedly murdered by a man who worked in her apartment building.

Nearly six months after the passing of the young college student, whose death shocked the Community, Florida Legislators passed a Bill Mandating Stronger Protections for Tenants and Landlord Responsibilities. The Law was sponsored by Representative Robin Bartleman (D-Weston) and Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando), and signed into Law last week by the Governor.

The new Law is named in honor of Miya Marcano, a Graduate of Charles W. Flanagan High School in Pembroke Pines who was allegedly killed by a Maintenance Worker who used his Master Key to enter her Apartment. Miya was attending Valencia College in Orlando when it is believed she was murdered by Armando Caballero, a Maintenance Worker at the Arden Villas Apartment Complex where she lived and had access to her Apartment.

Caballero had expressed a romantic interest in Marcano but she rebuffed his advances. Caballero possessed a Key Fob to access Apartments and his was used at Marcano's Unit just before her disappearance, Authorities said.

During this time period, the suspect Armando Caballero was found dead of an apparent suicide. That happened the same day deputies in neighboring Orange County announced he had expressed romantic interest toward his co-worker Miya Marcano, 19 and he snuck into her apartment shortly before she went missing.

What is Miya’s Law?

The Law makes changes to Florida’s Residential Landlord and Tenant Act as well as Public Lodging Establishment Laws in an effort to provide Safety and Security to Apartment Tenants.

“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 Stewart.

“As a mother of a college student, the loss of Miya is incomprehensible,” said Representative Bartleman. “I am grateful for Miya’s mother and father’s courage and strength. In the wake of their personal tragedy, they were committed to ensuring that this never happens to another family. Although this Legislation will not bring Miya back, it will help save lives and bring a greater sense of security to college students moving into their first Apartment, Seniors residing in Apartment Communities and all the 2 Million Renters in Florida. I am also grateful for my colleagues in the House who worked with me to ensure the unanimous passage of this Bill, Senator Stewart, Representative Plakon and to Governor DeSantis, for signing this Common-Sense Legislation into Law.”

“While Miya’s family will never receive justice and nothing can bring back their daughter, I do hope that with this new law going into effect, in honor of Miya, that some peace will be brought to the family in knowing that their daughter’s death was not in vain,” said Stewart.

The Law directs Landlords of Apartments to require that all Employees undergo a Background Screening, reinforces Rules on an Employee’s or Landlord’s access to Individual Units, increases the Required Notice before entry of a Unit to 24 hours and requires Apartments to maintain a Key Log Monitoring the issuance and return of all keys granting access to each Unit. While the focus of the Law is for Tenant Safety, it includes a Provision Prohibiting Hourly Rentals of Public Lodging Establishments.

The new Law is intended to protect Apartment Tenants from the kind of tragedy that befell young Miya Marcano last September. The bill also bans Motels from charging Hourly Room Rates with the goal of preventing Sex Trafficking.

The Law also requires Student Apartments to keep a Two-Year Log on “the issuance and return of all keys for each dwelling Unit. The Log will also include: The name, date and time an Employee or Contractor went into and came out of a Unit.

This Bi-Partisan Legislation endeavors to ensure an elevated expectancy of Residential Security and Personal Safety in Residential Properties in the State of Florida. “Miya’s Law” would require Apartment Owners to conduct Criminal Background Checks on Employees who could enter Apartments. It also would institute Rigorous Controls, including: Logs over Master Keys to Apartments. The Law also would require Apartment Employees to give Tenants at least 24 hours’ Notice before entering an Apartment, up from the Current Requirement of at least 12 hours.

The Enforcement of Miya’s Law will increase the Safety and Protection of our most vulnerable population, including: Students, Children, Single Mothers, Senior Citizens, Tenant-Victims and over 2.8 Million Florida Residents Residing in Single or Multi-Unit Residential Properties. Residential Security and Personal Safety are undoubtedly among the very first lines of defense in the protection of Tenants Residing in Residential Communities. Safety and Security are Basic Human Rights and should be regarded as such.

Miya’s Law will help ensure the Protection and wellbeing of our most vulnerable population – further Reassuring Tenant Safety and Security within Residential Communities. Because of Miya’s Law, lives will be saved.