Secret agent: Clemmie Bailey

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The Independent Online

Age: 32.

Age: 32.

Works for: Lane Fox, Chelsea and Kensington.

Who are your punters?
Lane Fox would never refer to people as punters, they are clients. Here things are changing. Before September 11th, the majority were corporate, but now we're seeing many more individuals who could certainly buy but have decided to take the safer, short-term option of renting until we see where we are going.

Taken on anything interesting lately?
I've just taken on a fantastic flat for £1,275 per week in Gledhow Gardens, SW5 that is a dream instruction. It's got "great bones", by which I mean it has everything a tenant could possibly want: it's on the first floor which has the highest ceilings, overlooks gardens at front and back and has been done up by its American owner in a style that tenants dream of.

What do you like in a property?
When I open a door it has to have that "feel-good" factor. Over the years I've learned that light and space are vital. In my own flat both are good and it gives you a spring in your step at the start of each day. Many clients come from warmer climes and are used to light flooding in, but London is often poky and dark.

Top tip for tenants:
When you walk in to your dream house or flat, recognize that it's the one, don't expect there to be another around the corner. Don't hesitate: there may be another applicant two steps behind you.

Describe your worst ever viewing:
It's when landlords hover around while you're showing a flat. You can see the tenant thinking "are they going to be popping round every five minutes?"

Who would your landlords like as tenants?
Non-smoking workaholics who appreciate the property. Some leave it in better condition.

Who are they more likely to get?
There are non-smoking workaholics out there, but they can be untidy. We don't take sharers as they inevitably have partners, all fall out and so wear and tear on the flat is quadrupled.

Ever been wrong about a tenant?
We have some who at first were charm personified but are now real bullies when it comes to the daily running of the flat. That's when a landlord is lucky; they don't have to take the abuse but we have to continue to smile.

What's the weirdest accusation you've had?
One tenant rang after he'd been away and accused us of sleeping in his bed. I mean there is no way! He must have lent keys out and forgotten.

Oddest request?
Recently one chap wanted to let his house but keep a bedroom so that he could live there. We said we'd put it to prospective tenants but it would be unlikely. Nobody took him up on it.

Describe a landlord's biggest job:
Many landlords completely renovate and the best fun is advising them on how to make it a perfect rental property. Mixer taps are vital in London; some people won't take properties that don't have them.

What is the longest you've ever had a property on your books?
They stick either because of lack of light, security worries or because they're on a busy road and are noisy. The longest was eight months: it was a family house on a busy road. Also it had those off-putting security grilles which suggest a history of bad security.

What is a tenant's ultimate sin?
Not moving out at the end of their tenancy which, thankfully, I've not had to deal with. At our end of the market it's not such an issue as tenants usually have things to move on to.

And a landlord's?
It's unfair when they don't recognise they are liable for maintenance expenses in the same way they would be if they were living there.

Are you obsessed with property?
I'm addicted. Outside of work I'm fascinated by properties I see through friends and family. It's what I do; it's in my bones.

In another life, what would you be?
A landlord. It's my ambition. I know I'd do it well and there's money to be made.

Lane Fox, Chelsea: 020-7589 9966

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