Code of the District of Columbia

§ 12–301. Limitation of time for bringing actions.

Except as otherwise specifically provided by law, actions for the following purposes may not be brought after the expiration of the period specified below from the time the right to maintain the action accrues:

(1) for the recovery of lands, tenements, or hereditaments— 15 years;

(2) for the recovery of personal property or damages for its unlawful detention— 3 years;

(3) for the recovery of damages for an injury to real or personal property— 3 years;

(4) for libel, slander, assault, battery, mayhem, wounding, malicious prosecution, false arrest or false imprisonment— 1 year;

(5) for a statutory penalty or forfeiture— 1 year;

(6) on an executor’s or administrator’s bond— 5 years; on any other bond or single bill, covenant, or other instrument under seal— 12 years;

(7) on a simple contract, express or implied— 3 years;

(8) for which a limitation is not otherwise specially prescribed— 3 years;

(9) for a violation of § 7-1201.01(11)— 1 year;

(10) for the recovery of damages for an injury to real property from toxic substances including products containing asbestos— 5 years from the date the injury is discovered or with reasonable diligence should have been discovered;

(11) for the recovery of damages arising out of sexual abuse that occurred while the victim was a minor— 7 years from the date that the victim attains the age of 18, or 3 years from when the victim knew, or reasonably should have known, of any act constituting abuse, whichever is later.

This section does not apply to actions for breach or contracts for sale governed by § 28:2-725, nor to actions brought by the District of Columbia government.


(Dec. 23, 1963, 77 Stat. 510, Pub. L. 88-241, § 1; Aug. 30, 1964, 78 Stat. 677, Pub. L. 88-509, § 2; Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-136, § 805(c), 25 DCR 5055; Feb. 28, 1987, D.C. Law 6-202, § 3, 34 DCR 527; Apr. 30, 1988, D.C. Law 7-104, § 2(a), 35 DCR 147; Mar. 13, 2004, D.C. Law 15-105, § 99, 51 DCR 881; Mar. 25, 2009, D.C. Law 17-368, § 2, 56 DCR 1338.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 12-301.

1973 Ed., § 12-301.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 8-634.10, § 12-308, and § 28-3905.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 15-105, in par. (9), substituted “§ 7-1201.01(11)” for “the District of Columbia Mental Health Information Act of 1978 (D.C. Official Code, sec. 7-1201.01 et seq.)”.

L.C. Law 17-368 added par. (11).

Cross References

Adverse possession, limitation of actions, see § 16-3301.

Breach of contract for sale, commencement of action after breach, see § 28:2-725.

Common carrier, commencement of action against for injury or death of employee, see § 35-304.

Consumer protection procedures, limitation of actions, see § 28-3905.

Hospital lien, limitation of enforcement, see § 40-303.

Income tax, limitation upon assessment and collection, see § 47-1812.10.

Mechanics lien, limitation of enforcement action, see § 40-303.13.

Quo warranto, commencement of action for usurpation of office, see § 16-3548.

Return of property by Property Clerk, see § 5-119.06.

Subways and viaducts, absence of limitation on action to recover part of costs, see § 9-1201.15.

Unpaid wages or liquidated damages, limitation of actions, see § 32-1013.

Usury, commencement of action, see § 28-3304.

Viaduct costs, absence of limitation on recovery action, see § 9-315.

Wrongful death actions, limitation of actions, see § 16-2702.