NAME: The Hong Kong landlady. CHARACTERISTICS: Tight perm, tight stretch leggings, tight fists. AGE: Ten years older than she thinks you think she is. MONEY: Lots and all yours. BRIEF HISTORY: Mean and ugly as the coffin she calls a flat, the Hong Kong landlady emerged with the small-time property investor, buying the flat next door/down the hall/round the corner instead of stocks. She usually spends the family's money but it is she who is the boss. This is her chance to show hubby/ son/ brother how a business should be run. NATURAL HABITAT: Irritatingly close. She can hear your stereo. You can hear your rent disappearing in a clatter of mahjong tiles. GREATEST INFLUENCE: China - the mother of all landladies. Anybody who can rent out a disease-infected blob of swampland scattered with a few mud-brick hovels, make the tenant redecorate it as a glittering metropolis, throw the tenant out on time, claim $269 billion in back rent and commandeer several million sticks of Ikea furniture, impresses the Hong Kong landlady no end. GREATEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Her husband. In his workplace he may be a tough, uncompromising operator in a pin-striped power suit but in his home he is an uncompromising wimp in blue shorts and flip-flops. Although your flat may have been bought with his earnings, he is allowed no part in its running. His major contact with the tenant involves smiling sheepishly from behind his wife and unblocking the toilet. LEAST LIKELY TO SAY (1): 'I'm so embarrassed. If I had known the air-conditioner leaked, the window was cracked and the plumbing was done by a complete incompetent for a 10th of the price I should have paid, I would have sorted all those things out beforeyou moved in. As it is, I will have a team of professional builders and plumbers visit immediately. Obviously, in order to offset any inconvenience to you, I will not require rent for the next two weeks.' LEAST LIKELY TO SAY (2): 'Well lovey, I know your contract isn't quite up yet but as you have painted and carpeted the place, put up shelves and always paid your rent on time, I will give you your full deposit back. Oh, I nearly forgot. I baked you a cakeas well.' MOST LIKELY TO SAY: 'One month in advance, three months deposit, one month to agent. That is Hong Kong way. Also that black leatherette sofa on the landing - yours for $900 extra.' TRADEMARK: Punctuality.