Missouri Retainage Guide and FAQs

Ready? Build Your Free Missouri
Retainage Now

Make Your Retainage Demand Now
Missouri Retainage FAQs

Missouri Retainage Overview

Missouri Retainage Requirements


  • Private Jobs
  • Public Jobs
  • Top Links
Retainage 10% Icon
10% Retainage Limit

Retainage cannot exceed 10% unless there is a default.


Payment Period 30 Days Icon
30 Day Pay Period

Within 30 days of substantial completion, all retainage (or substitute security) must be released. If any punch-list work remains, up to 150% of the work remaining may continue to be withheld. Within 7 days of the owner releasing retainage to the contractor, contractor must release retainage to their subcontractors.


YES
PROCESS
There is a Process to Recover

Yes, either acceptance of the owner or certificate of completion from architect or engineer is required. Recovery set forth by contract.


No Escrow Icon
Not Held In Escrow

In Missouri, contractors and owners do not need to hold retainage funds in a separate escrow account.

Retainage 5% Icon
5 Percent

Retainage rate is 5% unless it's determined that a higher rate of retainage is required. However, retainage cannot exceed 10%.


Payment Period 30 Days Icon
30 Day Pay Period

Upon contractor's request, retainage may be released early. The public entity may reduce or eliminate retainage if work is satisfactory. Retainage must be paid within 30 days of the due date of final payment.


YES
PROCESS
There is a Process to Recover

Yes, written notice and process is required.

Retainage serves two general purposes: (1) To provide an incentive to the contractor or subcontractor to complete the project; and (2) To give the owner some protection against problems like liens, contractual defaults, delays, and more. In most states, laws exist to regulate how the parties use the retainage concept, mostly protecting some parties against abuse of the tool from others. The following are resources, legal information, and frequently asked questions about Missouri’s retainage requirements. The Missouri retainage statutes are reproduced below on this page.

Missouri Retainage Frequently Asked Questions

Missouri Retainage Private Projects FAQs

Does Missouri limit the amount of retainage that can be withheld from a contractor?

Retainage is limited to no more than 10% unless there is a default. This does not apply to residential construction consisting of four or fewer units or single-family residential construction.

How long can a party withhold retainage in Missouri?

Within 30 days of substantial completion, all retainage or substitute security must be released. However, up to 150% of the value of punch list work may be retained Upon receipt of retainage from the owner, the contractor must release to each subcontractor that shares in the retainage within 7 days of the release.

Does Missouri require retained funds be deposited in a special account? Can securities be substituted for retainage?

Any tier may provide acceptable substitute security.

How can I make a claim to recover retainage in Missouri?

Not specified in statute. Solely depends on the terms of the contract.

Is there a specific notice required to recover retainage in Missouri?

The architect or engineer of the project must issue a certificate of substantial completion in accordance with the terms of the contract. This can be substituted for the owner’s acceptance of the performance of the full contract.

Missouri Retainage Public Projects FAQs

Does Missouri limit the amount of retainage that can be withheld from a contractor?

Retainage rate is 5% of the value of the contract unless it is determined that a higher rate of retainage is required. However, in no event may the retainage rate exceed 10%.

How long can a party withhold retainage in Missouri?

If contractor requests, withheld funds may be released to subcontractors that have completed their work, even if the project is not substantially complete. The public entity may reduce or eliminate retainage if work is satisfactory. Retainage must be paid within 30 days of the due date of final payment.

Does Missouri require retained funds be deposited in a special account? Can securities be substituted for retainage?

Statute does not specify.

How can I make a claim to recover retainage in Missouri?

The Missouri retainage is unclear about this. The contractor must request payment.

Is there a specific notice required to recover retainage in Missouri?

If public body determines work not substantially completed and accepted, within 14 calendar days, an explanation in writing must be given to the contractor, who shall then provide notice to the subcontractors responsible for that work. If such written notice is not given by the public body, the public body must pay at least 98% of the retainage within 30 calendar days.

Need More Help with Missouri Retainage? We're Here.

Get Free Expert Advice

Check Out Our Payment Experts

Missouri Retainage
Recent Questions & Answers

how much retention is held on a public works job 5% or 10%?

Retention on subcontractors- how much is held?

timing

We are a commercial framing and drywall contractor - when should I be sending notices to our GCs/project owners for non-payment of invoice? Typically we...

Can retainage be included in the amount of your lien or bond claim in Georgia?

If not, how do I get paid on retainage withheld in Georgia for public and private jobs? How do I know when the owner has...

Missouri Retainage Statute FAQs

Getting informed about prompt payment laws is important. An examination of Missouri’s retainage laws, the rules and regulations related to the amount and timing of allowable retained payments, is important to know your rights and responsibilities as a party on a construction project. Missouri’s specific laws can be found in: Mo. Rev. Stat. § 436.303, § 436.306, § 436.324 and § 34.057, and are reproduced below.

Retainage Statute on Private Projects

§ 436.303: Contract provisions; Retainage

A contract or agreement may include a provision for the retainage of a portion of any payment due from the owner to the contractor, not to exceed ten percent of the amount of such payment due pursuant to the contract or agreement, to ensure the proper performance of the contract or agreement, provided that the contract may provide that if the contractor’s performance is not in accordance with the terms of the contract or agreement, the owner may retain additional sums to protect the owner’s interest in satisfactory performance of the contract or agreement. The amount or amounts so retained by the owner shall be referred to in sections 436.300 to 436.336 as “retainage”, and shall be held by the owner in trust for the benefit of the contractor and contractor’s subcontractors, sub-subcontractors, and suppliers at whatever tier who are not in default, in proportion to their respective interests. Such retainage shall be subject to the conditions and limitations listed in sections 436.300 to 436.336.

§ 436.306: Security Tendered, When

1. The contractor may tender to the owner acceptable substitute security as set forth insection 436.312 with a written request for release of retainage in the amount of the substitute security. The contractor shall thereupon either:

(1) Be entitled to receive cash payment of retainage pursuant to this section; or

(2) Not be subject to the withholding of retainage, in either case, to the extent of the security tendered, provided that the contractor is not in default of its agreement with the owner.

2. If the tender described in subsection 1 of this section is made after retainage has been withheld, the owner shall, within five working days after receipt of the tender, pay to the contractor the withheld retainage to the extent of the substitute security. If the tender described in subsection 1 of this section is made before retainage has been withheld, the owner shall, to the extent of the substitute security, refrain from withholding any retainage from the future payments.

§ 436.324: Release of Retainage, When

Within thirty days of the project reaching substantial completion, as defined in section 436.327, all retainage or substitute security shall be released by the owner to the contractor less an amount equal to one hundred fifty percent of the costs to complete any remaining items. Upon receipt of such retainage from the owner, the contractor shall within seven days release to each subcontractor that subcontractor’s share of the retainage.

Retainage Statute on Public Projects

§ 34.057: Public works contracts; Prompt Payment by Public Owner to Contractor, Prompt Payment by Contractor to Subcontractor; Progress Payments; Retainage; Late Payment Charges; Withholding of Payments

1. Unless contrary to any federal funding requirements or unless funds from a state grant are not timely received by the contracting public municipality but notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, all public works contracts made and awarded by the appropriate officer, board or agency of the state or of a political subdivision of the state or of any district therein, including any municipality, county and any board referred to as the public owner, for construction, reconstruction or alteration of any public works project, shall provide for prompt payment by the public owner to the contractor, and any professional engineer, architect, landscape architect, or land surveyor, as well as prompt payment by the contractor to the subcontractor and material supplier in accordance with the following:

(1) A public owner shall make progress payments to the contractor and any professional engineer, architect, landscape architect, or land surveyor on at least a monthly basis as the work progresses, or, on a lump sum basis according to the terms of the lump sum contract. Except in the case of lump sum contracts, payments shall be based upon estimates prepared at least monthly of work performed and material delivered, as determined by the project architect or engineer. Retainage withheld on any construction contract or subcontract for public works projects shall not exceed five percent of the value of the contract or subcontract. If the contractor is not required to obtain a bond undersection 107.170 because the cost of the public works contract is not estimated to exceed fifty thousand dollars, the public owner may withhold retainage on the public works project in an amount not to exceed ten percent of the value of the contract or subcontract. The public owner shall pay the contractor the amount due, less a retainage, within thirty days following the latter of the following:

(a) The date of delivery of materials or construction services purchased;

(b) The date, as designated by the public owner, upon which the invoice is duly delivered to the person or place designated by the public owner; or

(c) In those instances in which the contractor approves the public owner’s estimate, the date upon which such notice of approval is duly delivered to the person or place designated by the public owner;

(2) Payments shall be considered received within the context of this section when they are duly posted with the United States Postal Service or other agreed upon delivery service or when they are hand-delivered to an authorized person or place as agreed to by the contracting parties;

(3) If, in the discretion of the owner and the project architect or engineer and the contractor, it is determined that a subcontractor’s performance has been completed and the subcontractor can be released prior to substantial completion of the public works contract without risk to the public owner, the contractor shall request such adjustment in retainage, if any, from the public owner as necessary to enable the contractor to pay the subcontractor in full. The public owner may reduce or eliminate retainage on any contract payment if, in the public owner’s opinion, the work is proceeding satisfactorily. If retainage is released and there are any remaining minor items to be completed, an amount equal to one hundred fifty percent of the value of each item as determined by the public owner’s duly authorized representatives shall be withheld until such item or items are completed;

(4) The public owner shall pay at least ninety-eight percent of the retainage, less any offsets or deductions authorized in the contract or otherwise authorized by law, to the contractor. The contractor shall pay the subcontractor or supplier after substantial completion of the contract work and acceptance by the public owner’s authorized contract representative, or as may otherwise be provided by the contract specifications for state highway, road or bridge projects administered by the state highways and transportation commission. Such payment shall be made within thirty days after acceptance, and the invoice and all other appropriate documentation and certifications in complete and acceptable form are provided, as may be required by the contract documents. If the public owner or the owner’s representative determines the work is not substantially completed and accepted, then the owner or the owner’s representative shall provide a written explanation of why the work is not considered substantially completed and accepted within fourteen calendar days to the contractor, who shall then provide such notice to the subcontractor or suppliers responsible for such work. If such written explanation is not given by the public body, the public body shall pay at least ninety-eight percent of the retainage within thirty calendar days. If at that time there are any remaining minor items to be completed, an amount equal to one hundred fifty percent of the value of each item as determined by the public owner’s representative shall be withheld until such items are completed;

(5) All estimates or invoices for supplies and services purchased, approved and processed, or final payments, shall be paid promptly and shall be subject to late payment charges provided in this section. Except as provided in subsection 4 of this section, if the contractor has not been paid within thirty days as set forth in subdivision (1) of subsection 1 of this section, the contracting agency shall pay the contractor, in addition to the payment due him, interest at the rate of one and one-half percent per month calculated from the expiration of the thirty-day period until fully paid;

(6) When a contractor receives any payment, the contractor shall pay each subcontractor and material supplier in proportion to the work completed by each subcontractor and material supplier his application less any retention not to exceed five percent. If the contractor receives less than the full payment due under the public construction contract, the contractor shall be obligated to disburse on a pro rata basis those funds received, with the contractor, subcontractors and material suppliers each receiving a prorated portion based on the amount of payment. When, however, the public owner does not release the full payment due under the contract because there are specific areas of work or materials he is rejecting or because he has otherwise determined such areas are not suitable for payment then those specific subcontractors or suppliers involved shall not be paid for that portion of the work rejected or deemed not suitable for payment; provided the public owner or the owner’s representative gives a written explanation to the contractor, subcontractor, or supplier involved as to why the work or supplies were rejected or deemed not suitable for payment, and all other subcontractors and suppliers shall be paid in full;

(7) If the contractor, without reasonable cause, fails to make any payment to his subcontractors and material suppliers within fifteen days after receipt of payment under the public construction contract, the contractor shall pay to his subcontractors and material suppliers, in addition to the payment due them, interest in the amount of one and one-half percent per month, calculated from the expiration of the fifteen-day period until fully paid. This subdivision shall also apply to any payments made by subcontractors and material suppliers to their subcontractors and material suppliers and to all payments made to lower tier subcontractors and material suppliers throughout the contracting chain;

(8) The public owner shall make final payment of all moneys owed to the contractor, including any retainage withheld under subdivision (4) of this subsection, less any offsets or deductions authorized in the contract or otherwise authorized by law, within thirty days of the due date. Final payment shall be considered due upon the earliest of the following events:

(a) Completion of the project and filing with the owner of all required documentation and certifications, in complete and acceptable form, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract;
(b) The project is certified by the architect or engineer authorized to make such certification on behalf of the owner as having been completed, including the filing of all documentation and certifications required by the contract, in complete and acceptable form; or
(c) The project is certified by the contracting authority as having been completed, including the filing of all documentation and certifications required by the contract, in complete and acceptable form.

2. Nothing in this section shall prevent the contractor or subcontractor, at the time of application or certification to the public owner or contractor, from withholding such applications or certifications to the owner or contractor for payment to the subcontractor or material supplier. Amounts intended to be withheld shall not be included in such applications or certifications to the public owner or contractor. Reasons for withholding such applications or certifications shall include, but not be limited to, the following: unsatisfactory job progress; defective construction work or material not remedied; disputed work; failure to comply with other material provisions of the contract; third party claims filed or reasonable evidence that a claim will be filed; failure of the subcontractor to make timely payments for labor, equipment and materials; damage to a contractor or another subcontractor or material supplier; reasonable evidence that the contract can not be completed for the unpaid balance of the subcontract sum or a reasonable amount for retention, not to exceed the initial percentage retained by the owner.

3. Should the contractor determine, after application or certification has been made and after payment has been received from the public owner, or after payment has been received by a contractor based upon the public owner’s estimate of materials in place and work performed as provided by contract, that all or a portion of the moneys needs to be withheld from a specific subcontractor or material supplier for any of the reasons enumerated in this section, and such moneys are withheld from such subcontractor or material supplier, then such undistributed amounts shall be specifically identified in writing and deducted from the next application or certification made to the public owner or from the next estimate by the public owner of payment due the contractor, until a resolution of the matter has been achieved. Disputes shall be resolved in accordance with the terms of the contract documents. Upon such resolution the amounts withheld by the contractor from the subcontractor or material supplier shall be included in the next application or certification made to the public owner or the next estimate by the public owner and shall be paid promptly in accordance with the provisions of this section. This subsection shall also apply to applications or certifications made by subcontractors or material suppliers to the contractor and throughout the various tiers of the contracting chain.

4. The contracts which provide for payments to the contractor based upon the public owner’s estimate of materials in place and work performed rather than applications or certifications submitted by the contractor, the public owner shall pay the contractor within thirty days following the date upon which the estimate is required by contract to be completed by the public owner, the amount due less a retainage not to exceed five percent. All such estimates by the public owner shall be paid promptly and shall be subject to late payment charges as provided in this subsection. After the thirtieth day following the date upon which the estimate is required by contract to be completed by the public owner, the contracting agency shall pay the contractor, in addition to the payment due him, interest at a rate of one and one-half percent per month calculated from the expiration of the thirty-day period until fully paid.

5. The public owner shall pay or cause to be paid to any professional engineer, architect, landscape architect, or land surveyor the amount due within thirty days following the receipt of an invoice prepared and submitted in accordance with the contract terms. In addition to the payment due, the contracting agency shall pay interest at the rate of one and one-half percent per month calculated from the expiration of the thirty-day period until fully paid.

6. Nothing in this section shall prevent the owner from withholding payment or final payment from the contractor, or a subcontractor or material supplier. Reasons for withholding payment or final payment shall include, but not be limited to, the following: liquidated damages; unsatisfactory job progress; defective construction work or material not remedied; disputed work; failure to comply with any material provision of the contract; third party claims filed or reasonable evidence that a claim will be filed; failure to make timely payments for labor, equipment or materials; damage to a contractor, subcontractor or material supplier; reasonable evidence that a subcontractor or material supplier cannot be fully compensated under its contract with the contractor for the unpaid balance of the contract sum; or citation by the enforcing authority for acts of the contractor or subcontractor which do not comply with any material provision of the contract and which result in a violation of any federal, state or local law, regulation or ordinance applicable to that project causing additional costs or damages to the owner.

7. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require direct payment by a public owner to a subcontractor or supplier, except in the case of the default, as determined by a court, of the contractor on the contract with the public owner where no performance or payment bond is required or where the surety fails to execute its duties, as determined by a court.

8. Notwithstanding any other provisions in this section to the contrary, no late payment interest shall be due and owing for payments which are withheld in good faith for reasonable cause pursuant to subsections 2, 5, and 6 of this section. If it is determined by a court of competent jurisdiction that a payment which was withheld pursuant to subsections 2, 5, and 6 of this section was not withheld in good faith for reasonable cause, the court may impose interest at the rate of one and one-half percent per month calculated from the date of the invoice and may, in its discretion, award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party. In any civil action or part of a civil action brought pursuant to this section, if a court determines after a hearing for such purpose that the cause was initiated, or a defense was asserted, or a motion was filed, or any proceeding therein was done frivolously and in bad faith, the court shall require the party who initiated such cause, asserted such defense, filed such motion, or caused such proceeding to be had to pay the other party named in such action the amount of the costs attributable thereto and reasonable expenses incurred by such party, including reasonable attorney fees.

Trusted by Thousands of Missouri Contractors Like You
For Help With Retainage