- Bond Claim Resources
The Difference Between a Bond Claim and a Mechanics Lien
When you’re unpaid for materials or labor furnished to a private project, the law allows you to file a lien claim against that property. When working on a state, county or municipal project, of course, the government isn’t going to tolerate claims against its interest in the land.
Therefore, to protect contractors and suppliers on the job, prime contractors working on these projects are required to post a payment bond. The payment bond is secured by a surety company, who must meet certain qualifications to guarantee they have the finances to secure the value of the project. When someone goes unpaid on the state, county or municipal project, they can make a claim for payment directly against the payment bond.
So, while a mechanics lien filing attaches to and is secured by the physical property, a bond claim attaches to and is secured by the payment bond. In a lot of ways, since properties can be over-leveraged and complex to foreclose upon, claims against payment bonds are cleaner, simpler and faster than mechanics lien claims.
What is the Bond Claim Process?
STEP 1: FILE BOND CLAIM
The first step in filing a bond claim, is of course, filing the bond claim! This step is simple enough, but because of the complexity of state requirements and the chance of error, it’s worth using a reputable bond claim processing technology like Levelset to file the claim for you.
The biggest mistake you can make when filing your bond claim, however, is not getting the claim filed on time. Each state has separate deadlines for when these bond claims are due. You must get the bond claim prepared correctly, and filed in the right place all before the state’s deadline. To determine the deadline to file a bond claim in your project’s state, consult Levelset’s industry-leading state bond claim resources.
STEP 2: REPLY TO BONDING COMPANY WITH BACKUP
After your bond claim is filed, you’ll be contacted by the surety to advise that a claim has been opened, and to request you reply with backup materials about your claim and a sworn statement of claim. Your next step is to return this sworn statement and any backup documentation you have. Return these documents as quickly as possible to keep the claim moving along, as your claim will be delayed as long as you delay returning the materials.
STEP 3: FOLLOWUP WITH THE BONDING COMPANY
After you file your bond claim and return your bond claim sworn statement and information, the bonding company will contact their customer (the prime contractor) and notify them of the claim. They will also give the prime contractor an opportunity to respond to the claim. Prime contractors often delay responding to the bonding company, which delays your claim.
Move your claim along by following up with the bonding company and pushing them to approve the claim.
STEP 4: FILE AN ENFORCEMENT ACTION
If the bond claim doesn’t produce payment right away, and your claim is either denied or delayed unreasonably, it may be time to file a lawsuit against the surety to enforce your bond claim. That is the last step, if necessary.