Steps to File a Bond Claim for a Florida Construction Project
It is public policy in Florida that private contractors cannot have a security interest in public lands, which is why construction liens are not available for government projects. Instead, contractors obtain a payment or performance bond from a surety to secure their interests in getting paid for work or materials. Florida’s statute on obtaining bonds for public projects includes the details on the prerequisites, requirements, and process for contractors to make a claim for payment against the bond.
With something as important as getting paid, it is critical to retain legal counsel that focuses on Florida construction law and bond claims. Unless you follow the rules to the letter, you could give up important rights. Your Florida bond claims lawyer has in-depth knowledge of the law, so you will have guidance through the following steps.
- Obtain a Copy of the Bond: Even when there are no doubts or indications about disputes over payment, it is always a good practice to get a copy of the payment bond that secures your rights. You should be able to access a copy through the general contractor, or you can request the document from the government body heading up the public construction project. By obtaining a copy when you start work, you will already have the information you need to take the next steps if problems do arise.
- Submit Notice to Contractor: If you are not in direct contractual privity with the general contractor in charge of the project, Florida law requires you to send a preliminary notice to the GC. Lower-tier subcontractors must send the Notice to Contractor before beginning work or providing materials, or at least within 45 days thereafter. By sending the payment bond notice of claim via certified mail, you can prove your compliance with the law. Failure to send the notice could defeat your bond claim.
- Send Notice of Nonpayment: The first two steps set the stage for making a bond claim, but you will need to take additional action when you do not receive proper payment. The Notice of Nonpayment should be sent to the general contractor and the surety company that issued the bond, also by certified mail.
- Enforce Your Bond Claim in Court: When you still do not receive payment for labor or materials, the next step is taking your case to court. You must do so within one year after the last time you provided services or supplies.
Rely on a Florida Bond Claims Attorney for Assistance with the Process
These are the steps for filing a bond claim in Florida, and ideally you will not need to go through all of them before you get resolution and receive payment. To learn more about the process, please contact Linkhorst & Hockin, P.A. to speak to a member of our team. You can call 561-626-8880 or visit us online to set up a consultation at our offices in Jupiter, FL. Once we review your situation, we can explain what to expect.