How to File a Bond Claim in Florida
If you work in construction in Florida, it’s crucial for you to understand how to file a bond claim in Florida and what makes construction bonds in Florida different from other states. State laws can drastically affect how to handle Florida payment and performance bond claims. Factors such as how long you have to file, what notices you’re required to send, and who is eligible to file a payment bond claim in Florida.
How to File a Bond Claim in Florida
Step 1: Obtain a Copy of the Payment Bond
The first thing you need to do when filing a payment bond claim against an unconditional or conditional payment bond in Florida is to get a copy of the bond itself. This should be done at the onset of a project so that you have access to all the information you’ll need if you have to file a claim later.
In order to get a copy of the bond, you must request one from the general contractor. If for whatever reason, the general contractor does not reply to this request, payment bond law in Florida has you covered. Florida payment bond statute 255.05(1)(c) states that any potential claimant can appeal to the government body in charge of the project for a copy of both the contract and bond.
Step 2: Send Notice to Contractor
Similar to other state’s bond claim processes, Florida requires that you next send a preliminary notice of claim to the general contractor. However, in Florida, this is only required of those who didn’t directly contract with the prime contractor. Those who are first-tier subcontractors are still encouraged to do so, though, as it can strengthen your overall claim.
The Florida payment bond notice must be sent either before the project begins or within 45 days of your start on it. In order to verify this, the notice must be sent through a form of certified mail service, so that it can be confirmed that the prime contractor did in fact receive the notice. If the contractor does not receive a notice of intent to claim within this time frame your Florida payment bond claim can be considered invalid.
Step 3: Send Florida Notice of Nonpayment
Obtaining a copy of the payment bond and sending the first notice are preliminary steps in the claim process that should be done on each project just in case there happens to be a payment problem. Sending a notice of nonpayment, however, is when you actually make your claim against a payment bond in Florida. It needs to be sent to the prime contractor, as well as the surety in charge of the bond. Per the statute of limitations, Florida payment bond claims must also be sent within a certain time frame.
Payment bond law in Florida requires the notice of nonpayment to be sent within the time frame of 45 days after the first time you supplied labor or materials to the project and no later than 90 days after your role on the project has finished.
Step 4: Enforce Your Florida Payment Bond Claim
Once you’ve sent out your Florida payment bond notice, the claims process will be well underway. With some luck, the general contractor and surety responsible for issuing the bond will rectify the situation upon receiving the notice of nonpayment. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
If you’ve filed your notice of nonpayment and the prime contractor still hasn’t compensated you for the labor and/or materials supplied, the next step would be to file a lawsuit against the bond. Florida statute of limitations dictates that the lawsuit must be filed within one year of the last time you provided labor or supplies. However, upon receiving your notice of nonpayment, a contractor may choose to file a notice of contest of claim against the payment bond. When this happens, the claimant then only has 60 days from the date they received this notice to file a suit against the bond.
Florida Payment Bond Claim FAQs
What is a Surety Bond in Florida?
A surety bond in Florida is the same as anywhere else. It is an agreement between the contractor, subcontractor, and a Florida bonding agency, (also known as the principal, obligee, and surety respectively) that each party will adhere to the terms of the contract in good faith. Should one party not live up to its end, the surety bond protects the other two.
How do I get Bonded in Florida?
Whether you’re obtaining surety bonds in Miami, Fl., a surety bond in Jacksonville, Fl., or anywhere else in the state, you would need to contact either an insurance company or a surety bond specific company when getting bonded in Florida. Due to Florida bonding requirements and complications that can arise throughout the project, most prefer to work with a licensed surety bond company because of their experience in the area.
How Much Does it Cost to get Bonded in Florida?
When purchasing a surety bond, the Florida cost for each one can vary greatly based upon the bond’s value and the level of the contractor obtaining the bond. For example, a division II contractor may purchase a $10,000 bond for around $300. A division I contractor may purchase the same bond for the same price, but only if they have completed a board-approved financial responsibility course.
Is a Surety Bond Required in Florida?
Surety bonds are always a smart idea, but in certain situations, they’re not just smart, they’re mandatory. Florida surety bond requirements laid out in the federal level Miller Act and Florida’s Little Miller Act stipulate that any public works contract valued at $100,000 or more is required to have a surety bond. Projects with a lower value may still be required to obtain either a Florida statutory payment bond or Florida unconditional payment bond based on a ruling provided by federal procurement officials.
Get Help With Your Claim From Construction Disputes
Varying state laws can make the bond claim process more complicated than it needs to be. Don’t worry, Construction Disputes is here to help! Our streamlined bond claim process makes sure that our users’ claims are in accordance with all necessary laws and regulations so you can rest assured you’ve done it right.