Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Survive a Fall Down the Stairs. but a Family of 13 Is a Real Shock

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Survive a Fall Down the Stairs. but a Family of 13 Is a Real Shock

Article excerpt

MONDAY At the Canary Wharf and Docklands office we are letting about 20 per cent of our stock to students from the Asia Pacific region, and this figure is increasing month by month.

This influx of tenants has been predominantly from China, with the London School of Economics alone reporting that it now has more than 500 Chinese students.

Not surprisingly then, my first appointment of the week is with a Chinese family who have flown over to look at a rental property for their youngest child. Though rarely shocked, I am astounded by the number of family members who have turned up. All in all I count 13, which means my colleagues have to rush for extra chairs for the meeting room.

Eventually everyone sits down and we get started on what the tenant (and his family) is looking for. This could take quite a while and I ask a colleague to stand in for my next meeting.

TUESDAY Today I am taking one of our applicants to view a high-end three-bedroom apartment on Hertsmere Road in Canary Wharf.

Having been round quite a few prospective properties with this particular client, I am eager to finalise a deal so I decide to be very positive and animated on the way round.

This particular apartment has a striking but potentially dangerous staircase, so I make sure the applicant's wife is careful on her way down.

However, turning around myself while gesticulating, I realise I haven't taken my own advice and proceed to fall down the whole flight, landing with a bump on the final step. The embarrassment is more severe than the shock and I quickly get up, announcing that I am fine and happy to continue with the viewing, much to the worry of my applicant.

At the end of the viewing I say goodbye and walk down the road, head in hands and with a slight limp.

Later that day they decide to rent the apartment -- amazing what works.

WEDNESDAY It's moving day for our new Chinese tenants into their chosen penthouse apartment overlooking Canary Wharf, and they are meeting the landlord for the first time to discuss the finer points of the property. …

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