2011 California Code
Civil Code
DIVISION 3. OBLIGATIONS [1427 - 3272.9]
CHAPTER 8. Miscellaneous Provisions
Section 3260


CA Civ Code § 3260 (through 2012 Leg Sess) What's This?

(a) This section is applicable with respect to all contracts entered into on or after July 1, 1991, relating to the construction of any private work of improvement. However, the amendments made to this section during the 1992 portion of the 1991 92 Regular Session of the Legislature are applicable only with respect to contracts entered into on or after January 1, 1993, relating to the construction of any private work of improvement. Moreover, the amendments made to this section during the 1993 portion of the 1993 94 Regular Session of the Legislature are applicable only with respect to contracts entered into on or after January 1, 1994, relating to the construction of any private work of improvement.

(b) The retention proceeds withheld from any payment by the owner from the original contractor, or by the original contractor from any subcontractor, shall be subject to this section.

(c) Within 45 days after the date of completion, the retention withheld by the owner shall be released. Date of completion, for purposes of this section, means any of the following:

(1) The date of issuance of any certificate of occupancy covering the work by the public agency issuing the building permit.

(2) The date of completion indicated on a valid notice of completion recorded pursuant to Section 3093.

(3) The date of completion as defined in Section 3086.

However, release of retentions withheld for any portion of the work of improvement which ultimately will become the property of a public agency, may be conditioned upon the acceptance of the work by the public agency. In the event of a dispute between the owner and the original contractor, the owner may withhold from the final payment an amount not to exceed 150 percent of the disputed amount.

(d) Subject to subdivision (e), within 10 days from the time that all or any portion of the retention proceeds are received by the original contractor, the original contractor shall pay each of its subcontractors from whom retention has been withheld, each subcontractor s share of the retention received. However, if a retention payment received by the original contractor is specifically designated for a particular subcontractor, payment of the retention shall be made to the designated subcontractor, if the payment is consistent with the terms of the subcontract.

(e) If a bona fide dispute exists between a subcontractor and the original contractor, the original contractor may withhold from that subcontractor with whom the dispute exists its portion of the retention proceeds. The amount withheld from the retention payment shall not exceed 150 percent of the estimated value of the disputed amount.

(f) Within 10 days of receipt of written notice by the owner from the original contractor or by the original contractor from the subcontractor, as the case may be, that any work in dispute has been completed in accordance with the terms of the contract, the owner or original contractor shall advise the notifying party of the acceptance or rejection of the disputed work. Within 10 days of acceptance of the disputed work, the owner or original contractor, as the case may be, shall release the retained portion of the retention proceeds.

(g) In the event that retention payments are not made within the time periods required by this section, the owner or original contractor withholding the unpaid amounts shall be subject to a charge of 2 percent per month on the improperly withheld amount, in lieu of any interest otherwise due. Additionally, in any action for the collection of funds wrongfully withheld, the prevailing party shall be entitled to his or her attorney s fees and costs.

(h) It shall be against public policy for any party to require any other party to waive any provision of this section.

(i) This section shall not be construed to apply to retentions withheld by a lender in accordance with the construction loan agreement.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1046, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 1995. Repealed as of July 1, 2012, by Stats. 2010, Ch. 697.)

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