How to File a Bond Claim in Washington State
Though the bond claim process is similar across the country, it’s not always exactly the same. Each state’s various laws and regulations can throw some unexpected wrinkles into the process if you’re not aware of them. Bond claim laws in Washing State are no exception. Whether it’s understanding Washington construction lien law or the bond claim process, you need to be up to date on what’s different in your state. Don’t worry, Construction Disputes is here to help.
Washington State Little Miller Act
One of the biggest factors in how a state’s bond claim process is handled is its Little Miller Act. An extension of the federal level Miller Act, the Little Miller Act dictates which projects require a surety bond and who is able to make a claim on it. Washington State’s Little Miller Act stipulates any project valued at over $150,000 must post both performance and payment bonds for the job.
The value of each of these bonds depends on the type of construction project being undertaken. For example, a state construction project requires a payment bond to be equal in value to the overall contract’s worth. For local public works projects, however, the posted bond only needs to be worth at least 25% of the contract.
Under its Little Miller Act, most workers on a construction job are free to make a bond claim in WA. This includes laborers, material suppliers, subcontractors, and anyone who leases out equipment for the project. However, suppliers of suppliers are not able to make a claim.
How to File a Bond Claim in WA
Step 1: Send a Preliminary Notice to the Contractor
When filing, you must first notify the contractor of a bond claim in Washington State, even as just a precautionary measure. Doing so gives you the right to actually take a claim out against the bond later. This is done by sending out a preliminary notice form. State laws regarding bond payment in WA require anyone considering a bond claim to provide a written notice to the prime contractor within 10 days of their start on the project.
Those who file a preliminary notice of claim against a bond payment in WA must include within it a statement of their intent to hold the bond liable, an explanation of any labor or materials they supplied to the project, and the contact information of the party who hired them.
To help manage all of the documents involved in your payment bond claim, Construction Disputes offers a single, simple claims document management platform that can help you to best understand the steps and actions need to be successful in your filing. Regardless of whether you are filing a mechanics lien in Washington State or a claim against a surety bond in Washington State, we help contractors and subcontractors to manage all of the documents and coordinate communication through our proprietary platform.
Step 2: Send a Notice of Intent to the Contractor for a Bond Claim in Washington State
Whereas the preliminary notice merely makes the option of a bond claim available to you, a notice of intent is a statement that you plan on actually filing the claim. While the notice of intent isn’t legally required under the laws of Washington state, it’s still a good idea to send one anyway.
Not only will sending a notice of intent help to strengthen your claim overall, but it also provides the prime contractor with one last chance to provide the money you’re owed before moving onto an actual claim. Both surety companies and contractors prefer to avoid claims whenever possible, so a notice of intent may be all it takes to receive your financial compensation.
Step 3: File a Payment Bond Claim
Should the prime contractor still not pay you following the notice of intent, the next step would be to file your claim against the bond. In order to receive payment of a bond in WA, claimants are required to file the bond claim within 30 days of the project’s completion. It’s important to note that this refers to the project as a whole and not just the claimant’s role in it.
In order to obtain payment of a bond in WA, the claim is only legally required to be sent to the contractor. However, it’s a good idea to send it to other invested parties, such as the surety company, as well. The more people you make aware of the payment problem, the more likely it is to be rectified.
When filing your claim, there are a few key pieces of information that Washington requires you to include. Each bond claim must contain the claimant’s information, the general contractor bond information, a declaration of the labor/materials supplied, and details of what the project is.
Step 4: Enforce the Payment Bond Claim
Most of the time, filing your claim will be enough to get you paid but not always; some contractors may choose to dispute your claim, even if they’re the ones who violated the agreement. When this happens, you may have to file a lawsuit in order to enforce your claim and make sure your contractor pays you. In Washington, you have 6 years from the project’s completion to file the suit. However, the terms laid out in some bonds actually make that a much shorter time frame. It’s important you review the bond’s information so you have a clear understanding of how long you have to file a suit if you need to.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bond Claims in Washington
How Do I Get a Surety Bond in Washington State?
In order to obtain a surety bond, you have to fill out the proper forms and submit them to a licensed surety company. From there, they will provide you with a quote and you can decide whether or not to purchase the bond for that price.
How Do You Get Licensed and Bonded in Washington State?
When it comes to getting licensed or obtaining a Washington State contractor bond and insurance, there are several requirements you must meet. You’ll need to get a contractor’s license, register your business with the Washington Secretary of State and the department of revenue, get a $12,000 Washington continuous contractor surety bond, and provide proof of being insured.
How Do I File a Complaint Against a Contractor in Washington State?
If you’re thinking of filing a complaint against a contractor for violating Washington State contractor laws or agreements, you should look up and contact the Washington State Department of Labor &Industries. They make it possible to file complaints online or over the phone.
How Much Does a Surety Bond Cost in Washington State?
Surety bonds in Washington usually cost about 1-15% of the bond’s amount. However, the price can drastically differ based upon the type of bond your purchasing and your insurance rate.