Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
In order to file a lien for wages due, you would need to sue the employer in court and obtain a judgment. Once you have a judgment against the employer for the wages due, plus possibly up to 1-2 times the amount for improper payment of wages, then you can place a judgment lien. You cannot just place a lien without going to court and getting a judgment in a case like this if you are an employee.
If you were a contractor and provided materials and labor on the property, then you can place a mechanic's lien on the property prior to suing (you have to still sue to perfect the lien and to collect on it). In order to place a mechanic's lien you have to give a 20 day pre-lien notice, which has to be given within 20 days of the work being done. The lien rights only extend to the work done 20 days before giving the notice. If you failed to serve that notice, you could not go to the next step, which depends on whether or not the owner filed a notice of completion. If the owner filed a notice of completion, you have to file the lien with the recorder of property records within 30 days if you were a sub contractor and within 60 days if you were the general or primary contractor. If the owner did not file a notice of completion, you have 90 days to file your lien.Once the lien is filed, you have 90 days to file suit to collect on the lien.