Washington DC Retainage Guide and FAQs

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Washington DC Retainage Overview

Washington DC Retainage Requirements

  • Private Jobs
  • Public Jobs
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Retainage Unregulated Icon
Retainage Limit

Not Regulated by State Law

Payment Period Not Regulated Icon
Pay Period

Not Regulated by State Law

There's No Process to Recover


No Escrow Icon
Not Held In Escrow

Not Regulated by State Law

Retainage 10% Icon
10 Percent

10% retainage required on all contracts. When 50 percent of the work is complete,
the mayor has discretion to eliminate or reduce the retention.

Payment Period Icon
Retainage Pay Period

There is no specific regulation for when retainage must be paid.

There's No Process to Recover

Not specified

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 Washington DC’s retainage requirements. The Washington DC retainage statutes are reproduced below on this page.

Washington DC Retainage Frequently Asked Questions

Washington DC Retainage Private Projects FAQs

No Retainage Statute for Private Projects

Washington DC does not provide a retainage statute for private projects.

Washington DC Retainage Public Projects FAQs

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

Retainage rate is set at 10%. Once project is 50% complete, the Mayor may reduce or eliminate the retainage percentage.

How long can a party withhold retainage in Washington DC?

When the work is substantially complete, the Mayor, if he thinks the amount retained is in excess of the amount adequate for protection, may release to the contractor all or a portion of the excess amount.

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

This is not specified for public projects in the Washington DC retainage statute.

How can I make a claim to recover retainage in Washington DC?

Any contested case shall be afforded a hearing by the Mayor or the public agency involved.

Is there a specific notice required to recover retainage in Washington DC?

The Mayor or the agency must give all parties involved in contested case reasonable notice of the afforded hearing.

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Recent Questions & Answers

With retainage is there still a lien on the owner's property?

I am an attorney in Houston. I have a client who has retained 10% against the general contractor. A supplier has timely filed $100K in...

Retainage Withholding

By law - in order for a contractor to withhold retainage from a subcontractor - it must be stated in the contract....correct?

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Washington DC Retainage Statutes

Getting informed about prompt payment laws is important. An examination of Washington DC’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. Washington DC’s specific laws can be found in: D.C. CODE § 2-203.01, and are reproduced below.

Retainage Statute on Private Projects

No Retainage Statute on Private Projects

There is no retainage statute on private projects in Washington D.C.

Retainage Statute on Public Projects

D.C. CODE § 2-203.01.

Whenever the work is substantially complete, the Mayor, if he considers the amount retained to be in excess of the amount adequate for the protection of the District of Columbia, at his discretion may release to the contractor all or a portion of such excess amount; and the said Mayor in his sole discretion, may further authorize payment in full, including retained percentages, for each separate building or public work on which the price is stated separately in the contract upon completion and acceptance of such building or work.

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