(WSVN) – A couple had a dream of opening their own business, so they sold their home to buy a warehouse. But then their dreams were crushed when they were told they can’t open a business there. Legal or illegal? It’s why they called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
When Luis was a kid, he liked cars. As an adult, he turned his attention to Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Luis Mellado: “There’s nothing like it. You feel the wind blowing in your head, the sound of the engine.”
And Jasmine enjoys the bikes as well.
Jasmine Mellado: “I ride on the back; I don’t ride by myself. I ride on the back.”
Not only do they like to ride, Luis also loves to repair the bikes.
Then one day, he saw a warehouse bay for sale in Perrine, and the couple decided to buy their own shop.
Luis Mellado: “We sold our home, and with the profits of it, we bought the warehouse.”
The Mellados used all their money to buy a warehouse to repair Harleys. Talk about going all in.
Jasmine Mellado: “It was a little scary. It was definitely a little scary. I mean, that’s a lot of money.”
Then it went from scary to terrifying, when Luis went to the county to get the paperwork to open the shop.
Luis Mellado: “And the gentleman says, ‘Hey, you know, we can’t give you a certificate of use here.’ I said, ‘Why?’ ‘Yeah, you know, this has been violated for the 40-year inspection.’”
Turns out the property was declared unsafe in 2022 because the building didn’t get a 40-year recertification. Luis’ title company never told him that.
Luis Mellado: “Without that, you can’t get anything else. You can’t get DERM, you can’t get the fire department. When I heard that, my heart fell.”
The industrial complex is run by a board made up of the warehouse bay owners like Luis, but they’re allowed to keep their doors open.
Luis Mellado: I guess they had their permits from before, so they’re not issuing any new permits because it’s an unsafe structure.”
Now only Luis is facing the disaster of not being able to open the shop he and Jasmine sunk every dollar into.
Jasmine Mellado: “He can’t work. What do we do? Where do we go.”
Good question. Mr. Attorney. Legally, what do you do?
Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “If this was a residential property, you could rescind the contract because the seller did not disclose major defects, but with commercial properties, the buyer does not have the same consumer protection. It’s basically what the law calls caveat emptor, which means let the buyer beware. In other words, you are on your own and have to do your own due diligence.”
We contacted the Perrine Industrial Park. They didn’t respond to us, but Luis says they quickly began the 40-year recertification process.
That can take a while, but submitting the paperwork allowed the county to give Luis the certificate of use to open his business.
Luis Mellado: “I feel good. I feel good, you know? I can sleep a little bit better at night.”
Luis is happy and lucky, a fellow whose love of Harleys is his livelihood.
Luis Mellado: “It’s in my blood. I’ll never lose the love for it, you know? I love what I do for a living. I don’t see myself doing anything else.”
If your hobby is your work, it’s not work. And before you open a business or make any major purchase, it’s best to spend a few dollars to hire an attorney to go over the paperwork. I don’t like to tell people to hire lawyers, but it can save you a wad of cash and a lot of headaches.
Tired of someone giving you the business? Ready to crank up a solution” Contact us. We can have Howard can ride in on a motorcycle … if you can find training wheels.
With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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