The ac­ci­den­tal land­lord

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Homes and Property - - Letting On -

WITH the au­tumn comes a new round of ten­ants mov­ing in, ready to start their new jobs in Lon­don. But first come the in­ter­views.

My au­tumn did not start well. You know those mo­ments when you want the ground to open up and swal­low you whole? Well, I had one of those when meet­ing a young tenant for the first time.

I had been ex­pect­ing a woman to turn up to view my two-bed­room flat, so when I opened the door to a short, fresh-faced, back­pack-car­ry­ing boy, I nat­u­rally as­sumed he was her son. Bob­bing down to look him in the eye, I said in the slightly pa­tro­n­is­ing tone I can’t help us­ing with teenagers: “Are you here to look at the flat with your mum?”

Too late, the young woman ap­proached, hur­ry­ing up the path and in­tro­duced him as her boyfriend. They laughed, I went puce. They were the sweet­est pair, so young, but I was tempted to ask if they could af­ford the rent.

The next cou­ple who came to view the flat also looked fright­en­ingly young and the girl was so hy­per I think she must have ei­ther skipped her af­ter­noon nap or eaten too many sweet­ies. She bounded into the liv­ing room, reached over to the tall win­dow and tapped it with her fin­ger­nail. “Sin­gle glaz­ing?” she asked, arch­ing one of her lovely young eye­brows. “Does that mean it’s cold in here?” Be­fore I had time to an­swer, she’d whooshed into the kitchen area and started yank­ing open the cup­board doors. “No dish­washer?” she asked.

Then she bobbed off into the bath­room, hav­ing ev­i­dently lost all in­ter­est in dish­wash­ing. “Dar­ling,” she shouted to her boyfriend, “come and look at th­ese ridicu­lous lights.” “Dar­ling” looked at me apolo­get­i­cally and we both went to look at the “ridicu­lous lights”, which are ac­tu­ally just reg­u­lar bath­room ceil­ing

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