NORTH KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- The man who runs a North Kansas City used bookstore is upset.

He's worried that his collection of rare books will be ruined because part of his roof is literally falling on him, which is all because a new building owner allowed construction crews to start fixing the roof before he could move his business.

For 20 years, Steel’s Used Books has called the building on 18th Street in downtown North Kansas City home. However, this week, the owner said he's had to turn away customers.

“I've had people call,” he said. “I say, ‘You don't want to come in here. I don't know what's going to fall on your head.’”

That's because construction crews are replacing the roof on the old building. It’s a project the building owner told him would take place, although he didn't know the damage it would do to his store.

"I came in yesterday and all of this was destroyed,” the owner said. There are pieces of roof debris coating the floor, books and even a piano.

On Monday, Steel received a notice that he needed to move his business out of the building in 45 days.

"Which is fine,” he said. “I knew it was coming. But then this, within 36 hours."

According to the current building owner, Steel doesn't have a lease agreement and that is why he was given a notice.

"For 20 years I've been here,” he said. “Seventeen of those years were a handshake contract with my incredibly gracious and lovely landlord."

We spoke to the city, who said a permit was given to the new building owner to make necessary improvements. So, the job taking place is allowed.

However, Steel said he just wished they would have waited to do the job once he had already moved his business out.

"It's a mess,” he said. “It's a mess and it's incredibly classless and disrespectful.”

The building owner told KCTV5 News that they weren't aware of the mess construction crews were leaving inside the building. The property management company has gone out there since we've spoken to them to take pictures, and they plan to remedy the situation as soon as possible.

An expert told KCTV5 that, as a small business owner, making sure you have a lease agreement is very important to prevent things like this from happening. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, StormTrack5 weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from KCTV5 News. 

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