CONSERVATIONISTS complain that Hongkong's heritage is being destroyed, as attractive old buildings with character are replaced with glitzy, modern tower blocks which can produce more income. There is, however, an active rental market for some older properties, with tenants paying some of the highest rents in Hongkong for homes some 20 or 30 years old, according to First Pacific Davies executive director, Ms Isabel Michie. In this case, the tenant is sacrificing facilities such as a gym or a swimming pool for more space and atmosphere. Most prime apartments, such as Tavistock and Bowen Hill, built over 25 years ago for the executive market, were designed for a more relaxed lifestyle. In those days, space was not at the premium it is now and the pace of business was less frenetic. Unfortunately, not all these buildings have survived. Ms Michie said: ''You must have enlightened landlords who cherish the value and the classic flavour of the apartment. ''The traditional name of the apartment is valued by them, they know its worth and they know the name is a marketable commodity. ''They also know that upgrading the interiors of the apartments and the communal areas adds greater value, so they usually do that. ''The tenant then has the best of both worlds - space, comfort, renovated bathrooms and kitchens, together with colonial architecture, colonial history, high ceilings and big balconies.'' One of the most interesting older-style buildings is Interocean Court, where the 2,724 square feet apartments, with their unusual interior pillars and amazing views, have been renovated as they become vacant. Occasionally, upgraded old-style apartments do benefit from recreational facilities. Tavistock, in the Mid-Levels, which has four-bedroom, 4,200 sq ft apartments, is renting for $91,000. It has access to a swimming pool and squash courts. Bowen Hill, where $91,000 will rent a 3,000 sq ft apartment, has only a small, recently built pool, but each home has a fireplace. Ms Michie said that rents at this level were steadier at present, although they had doubled over the past five years. The enthusiasm for this type of home was not a recent phenomenon. Bowen Hill had a waiting list as far back at 1983, and, like Tavistock and Interocean, it has historically had a low vacancy rate. Ms Michie said: ''Bowen Hill has always been historically valued and has been upgraded by three different landlords in recent years.'' Not all the rents are at the $100,000 level. Apartments in 77 Peak Road rent for around $65,000. This property was taken over some time ago by Wharf and the interiors were re-modelled. A resident said that one of the attractions of the building was the high ceiling which allowed colonial-style ceiling fans to be installed. However, he said that the main attraction was the huge garden surrounded by trees which made it an ideal spot for children. People who tend to target these apartments include British, Australians and Americans in senior management positions. Said Ms Michie: ''They either come here with an appropriate budget, or if they are very senior, they do not fix a budget until they have found a home. ''They don't always accept the face value of the product. ''They are paying for location, space and prestige, and the character of the building which brings privacy,'' she said. ''Some of the properties have lost their views because of new developments that surround them.'' .