The timing for payment bond claims are tricky in California. First, a 20-day preliminary notice is required on public projects. Whether or not this notice was sent will affect the time to file a bond claim. If the notice was properly sent, a claimant may commence an action to enforce a claim against the surety bond at any time the claimant ceases to provide work (but not later than 6 months after the time during which a stop payment notice may be given under Section 9356 - which is either (1) 30 days after a notice of completion, acceptance, or cessation is recorded; or (2) if no notice of completion, acceptance, or cessation was recorded - 90 days after cessation or completion of the project). However, if proper notice was not given, notice of the claim must first go to the surety. As a side note- sending such a notice even when preliminary notice was properly sent could still be helpful in avoiding having to take legal action. Anyway - the timing of the claim made to the surety (by a party who failed to properly send preliminary notice) is as follows: if a Notice of Completion is recorded on the project, a claimant must give written notice to the surety and the party who posted the bond within 15 days of the Notice of Completion. If a Notice of Completion was not recorded, written notice must be given to the surety and the party who posted the bond within 75 days of the completion of the work of improvement.