A millionaire builder is housing 120 migrants in an illegal shanty town just yards from his £2million home, it has been claimed.
Gerry Fitzgerald, 60, is said to have constructed five multi-bed cabins on the plot in North London at an average value of £333 per month per tenant.
He allegedly earns nearly half a million pounds each year from the migrants with some of them thought to be paying rent from their taxpayer-funded benefits.
Gerry Fitzgerald, 60, is said to have constructed five multi-bed cabins on the plot in North London at an average value of £333 per month per tenant
Meanwhile Mr Fitzgerald lives in a five-bedroom mansion just yards from the plot, which has been occupied for up to four years.
It is alleged that he pays a Romanian couple to run the operation and that they collect new tenants from the airport ‘all the time’.
A source told The Sun: ‘It’s like a shanty town. There must be 120 people there. If the wood caught fire it would all go up.’
Aerial images reveal that the site contains a courtyard as well as decking among the rooms which are linked together by corridors.
Meanwhile Mr Fitzgerald lives in a five-bedroom mansion just yards from the plot, which has been occupied for up to four years
Mr Fitzgerald was ordered to tear down the buildings and cabins by the end of the year after losing a High Court appeal against a council’s ruling that it was ‘sub-standrad accommodation’.
Speaking to The Sun, he said: ‘If there were 120 there I’d be living in the Bahamas.
‘Everyone staying there is legal under the annual short-term tenancy act. They pay council tax and have National Insurance.’
In July, the Government was urged to back a London-wide crackdown on rogue landlords exploiting ‘beds in sheds’, using a new model that has secured more than 1,000 prosecutions.
It is appalling the way people are being made to live by landlords who are just out to rip people off
Newham council called on Housing Minister Alok Sharma to renew its Private Rented Sector licensing scheme until 2022 to target slum landlords.
It has pursued property owners for illegally sub-letting properties or cramming dozens of people into sheds, garages and makeshift shelters.
The mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, said: ‘It is appalling the way people are being made to live by landlords who are just out to rip people off,’ according to the Evening Standard.
Police and council enforcement officers visited four Newham properties after reports the houses were being used illegally.
They included a £500,000 three bedroom terraced home in Ranelagh Road with more than 10 people sharing four bedrooms and a gazebo in the back garden.
In 2015, Housing minister Brandon Lewis said that illegal immigration was being encouraged by landlords who rent out ‘dangerous, dirty and overcrowded’ homes, largely to recently-arrived and low-paid foreign workers.
Mr Lewis said: ‘The actions of these rogue landlords are helping fuel illegal working, benefit fraud, and illegal immigration by creating a shadow housing market that carries dangers to people’s health as well as communities.’