Subcontractors and suppliers must now use new, statutory notice of nonpayment forms to preserve payment bond claims, and sign each notice of nonpayment under oath.
The State of Florida instituted changes to the statutes governing public-project payment bonds (section 255.05, Florida Statutes) and private-project payment bonds (section 713.23, Florida Statutes). The changes went into effect on October 1, 2019. Previously, notices of nonpayment were not required to be signed under oath. Now, the law requires the use of specific statutory notice forms that claimants must sign under oath. Previously, there were no statutory penalties for claimants who exaggerated the amount claimed against a payment bond. Now there are specific statutory penalties against a claimant who willfully or negligently signs a notice of nonpayment that includes a claim for work not performed or materials not furnished, or who is guilty of signing a notice prepared with willful or gross negligence.
Public construction payment bonds are governed by section 255.05, Florida Statues, also known as Florida’s Little Miller Act. This statute requires all payment bond claimants who don’t have a direct contract with the general contractor to serve both the bonding company and the general contractor with a notice of nonpayment no later than 90 days after their last date of work or last delivery of materials. The amended statute now requires that the claimant use the statutory notice form and sign the form under oath. If the claimant includes exaggerated claims, or intentionally makes a claim for work or materials not provided, or otherwise prepares a notice with gross negligence, then the bonding company and the general contractor will be able to use such as a complete defense to an otherwise valid bond claim.