Payment Bond Claims Attorneys
in Miami, Florida
Both federal and Florida state laws require that public construction projects be covered by a payment bond, which is a surety bond that can be accessed if the contractor fails to pay for supplies or work performed. On the federal level, this requirement falls under the Miller Act. States have what are called Little Miller Acts, and Florida is no different.
If you’re a contractor seeking a payment bond, or someone else involved with the contractor seeking a claim against a payment bond in or around Miami, Florida, contact our team at Miguel A. Brizuela, P.A. Our construction law attorneys are experienced in both sides of the payment bond requirement, from the bondholder to the bond claimant.
Miguel A. Brizuela, P.A. also proudly serves clients throughout Southern Florida including Coral Gables, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Skilled Legal Guidance
Differences Between Performance
Bonds and Payment Bonds
A performance bond is used to guarantee that the project will be completed according to the terms of the contract at an agreed-upon price. A payment bond, in contrast, is a surety bond that ensures subcontractors and material suppliers are paid according to the contract. Often, the two go hand-in-hand. Making a claim on a payment bond in a public project is similar to filing a mechanic’s lien against a contractor in a private construction project.
Florida Law Regarding Payment Bonds
Florida Statute Chapter 713.23 states:
“The payment bond required to exempt an owner under this part shall be furnished by the contractor in at least the amount of the original contract price before commencing the construction of the improvement under the direct contract, and a copy of the bond shall be attached to the notice of commencement when the notice of commencement is recorded. The bond shall be executed as surety by a surety insurer authorized to do business in this state and shall be conditioned that the contractor shall promptly make payments for labor, services, and material to all lienors under the contractor’s direct contract.”
In other words, before commencing a Florida publicly funded construction job, the contractor must obtain a surety—or payment—bond in the amount of the original construction price from an authorized surety dealer. The bond must be sufficient to ensure prompt payments for labor, services, and materials contracted by the contractor.
In terms of federal law, Title 40 of the U.S. Code, Section 3131, states:
Before any contract of more than $100,000 is awarded for the construction, alteration, or repair of any public building or public work of the Federal Government, a person must furnish to the Government the following bonds:
Payment bond, which includes coverage for taxes
How to File a Payment Bond Claim
If you are a subcontractor, supplier, or laborer in a federal Miller Act construction project who needs to file a claim for nonpayment or insufficient payment, you can sue the contractor in a U.S. District Court in the name of the United States. The requirement is that you must not have been paid in full within 90 days after the last day of labor furnished or supplies delivered.
If you have a direct contractual arrangement with a subcontractor but not with the contractor, you have the same 90-day window, but instead of filing suit, you must serve written notice to the contractor of your claim.
The Florida process is similar, but a bit more involved. First, you as a subcontractor or supplier need to obtain a copy of the payment bond. The contractor may stall you or even ignore you on your request, but you have the right under Florida statutes to request a copy from the government entity in charge of the project.
The next step is not required—except for those who don’t have a direct contract with the general contractor—but is recommended. You should send a Notice to Contractor regarding your rights either before the work commences or within 45 days of first furnishing labor or materials to the project.
If you are not paid for work or materials, you must send a Notice of Nonpayment both to the contractor and the surety company within 45 to 90 days of non-payment. Again, though this requirement is required only of non-contracted subcontractors, laborers, or suppliers, it is recommended for all claimants.
You have one year to file a lawsuit, but if you’re not directly contracted with the general contractor, you must have filed both notices described above. If you are directly contracted, you can skip those steps, but they are recommended anyway.
The Payment Bondholder’s Obligation
The holder of the payment bond, i.e., the contractor, is liable for making good on any past-due contracted payments. If the contractor cannot pay, then the surety bond company is expected to make good. The process can get complicated quickly, which is why it’s imperative to reach out to a construction law attorney to advocate on your behalf.
Payment Bonds Claims Attorney
Serving Miami, Florida
If you’re involved in a payment bond claim either as a bondholder, subcontractor, or supplier, you are going to need experienced legal representation to protect your rights and present your side of the case. If you’re in or around Miami, contact the construction law team at Miguel A. Brizuela, P.A. We will discuss the specifics of your situation, review your rights and obligations, and guide you forward to achieve the best result possible.