A third of homes, worth an estimated £350m, in London’s Billionaires Row are in a state of disrepair.
The homes on the capital’s prestigious Bishops Avenue, left empty by wealthy owners, were found with carcasses of dead pigeons, water running down the walls and ferns growing on stairs.
Owners of the homes include the members of the Saudi royal family who own a row of 10 mansions worth £73m.
The street also boasts the 14-bedroomed Heath Hall, which was built for the founder of the Tate & Lyle sugar empire. It’s currently on the market for £65m.
It’s difficult to know details of owners as most of these homes are registered to companies in tax havens including the British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, the Bahamas, Panama, and the Channel Islands.
Egyptian-born Dr Magdy Adib Ishak-Hannah, a surgeon and businessman who has rented a home on the road for seven years, told The Guardian that he has never met any of his neighbours and that only three of the houses were occupied full-time.
Clive Betts MP, chair of the Commons communities and local government select committee, blamed the Tories for the empty luxury homes saying that the government only penalises the poor for unoccupied bedrooms.
“People can claim to do what they want with the property they own, but how must those living in cramped and poor accommodation feel when they see some of the most palatial, beautiful, properties with incredible amounts of space going to waste?
“This is a government obsessed by under-occupation of two-bed council houses in London occupied by people with nowhere else to go. But in the same city you have mansions unoccupied with no action being taken.”
David Ireland, chief executive of the Homes from Empty Homes campaign group, told the paper: “London’s shortage of homes is so great that this feels immoral and dysfunctional.”
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