Washington DC Retainage Overview

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 for Private Projects FAQs

Washington DC Retainage FAQs


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

Washington DC Retainage for Public Projects FAQ


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.

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



Retainage Statute on Public Projects

§ 2-203.01: Retents

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