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Steps to Preserving Your Rights on a Florida “Little Miller” Payment Bond

Written on February 16, 2021

As a Florida contractor or other entity in the construction industry, you deal with bond claims on a regular basis. When you do any work on a project that involves public property, you know you cannot rely on a mechanics lien to obtain payment. Instead, you must comply with the strict requirements of Florida’s “Little Miller” Act and leverage a payment bond to recoup amounts due to your company. This bond is a type of insurance policy that a general contractor procures to guarantee that all parties supplying labor and materials will be paid. To gain access to the funds you are owed, you need to file a bond claim.

However, though this description of bond claims seems clear-cut, preserving your rights on a payment bond is a complicated process. For this reason, you should trust a Clearwater contract disputes lawyer for assistance with the four steps for making a bond claim on a public construction project in Florida.

1).  Obtain Copy of the Payment Bond Documentation: Any time a public project exceeds $100,000, a general contractor must post a payment bond. As a company supplying labor or materials, you are entitled to a copy of the contract and the recorded payment bond. The paperwork will give you access to information about the general contractor, property owner, the surety company, and other details you need to go forward with the legal process. It will be necessary to send certain notices and claims to the right parties, pursuant to applicable deadlines.

2).  Sending Required Notices: Using the information from the payment bond documentation, your next step is forwarding a Notice to Contractor to the general contractor. This is not required if you are in a first-tier relationship, but it is highly recommended that you send this notice to inform the relevant parties of your intent to pursue your rights under the payment bond. The statute imposes a deadline to forward the notice before work begins or within 45 days furnishing labor or supplies.

3).  Forward the Notice of Nonpayment: Your right to make a bond claim is secured through the Notice to Contractor; however, you need to take additional action to obtain amounts under the payment bond. By sending a Notice of Nonpayment to the general contractor and surety company, you officially trigger the bond claim process. You must forward this document no later than 90 days after the last date you provided services or materials.

4).  Enforce Your Payment Bond Rights: If you still have not received payment, your last resort will be filing a lawsuit against the bond. The statute of limitations in such a scenario is one year, and the clock starts to run from the date you last provided labor or materials.

Contact a Clearwater, FL Business Litigation Attorney to Get Started

It is helpful to understand the basic steps for filing a payment bond claim on a Pasco County public construction project, but it is essential to retain an experienced business lawyer to handle the process. For more information, please call Clearwater Business Law at (727) 785-5100 to set up a consultation.

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