There are numerous ways to make a Florida payment bond claim depending on your role and relationship to the project contractor. If you aren’t getting paid for your services, you deserve compensation, but in many cases taking legal action isn’t the fastest way to collect what you are owed.
In part one of this two-part guide, our Orlando construction lawyers at Cotney Construction Law examined many of the procedures a claimant can take to collect payment without entering the courtroom. In part two, we will continue to evaluate the different ways to make a Florida payment bond claim.
Pre-Lawsuit Payment Demand Letter
In most cases, serving the “90 Day Notice of Nonpayment” will result in the project contractor fulfilling the agreed upon payment. However, if you do not receive payment after filing this notice, you will need to consider taking legal action to enforce payment. At this point, you have two options: file a lawsuit or issue one last strong payment demand letter. If you choose the latter, you should consider retaining a construction lawyer to draft and deliver a payment demand letter for you. This will verify that you are prepared to take legal action and have a lawyer in your employment to file a lawsuit immediately if the debt remains unpaid.
Lawsuit to Enforce Payment Under the Payment Bond
If you are still being denied payment after exercising all of the previous options, you will have to file a lawsuit against the surety and the project contractor in violation of the project contractor’s payment bond. You have exactly one year from the last day of service to file a lawsuit. If you fail to act in a timely manner and attempt to file after one year, you will waive your right to advance your claim against the payment bond. This deadline can be shortened or extended based on certain exceptions, so it’s best to file your lawsuit as early as possible.
Payment Bond Requirements
According to section 255.05 of the Florida Statutes, there are specific requirements for payment bonds that can affect which legal actions you may take against a nonpayment. There are exceptions to bond requirements for public construction projects. For example, if a contract for a public project is for $100,000 or less, a payment bond is not required to proceed with construction. Public projects costing $200,000 or less can also be exempt from the payment bond requirements of the Little Miller Act. Projects that fall within these parameters have no payment bond rights or lien rights. An Orlando construction lawyer can help clarify these exceptions in greater detail.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.