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Agency /Landlord can ask for advance rent payments if the tenant fails credit affordability criteria and they feel that tenant would not be able to afford rent due to his/her finances.
You can offer a personal guarantor for your tenancy , for securing the tenancy agreement , if you do not wish to pay 6 months upfront.
Only make the payment once you are sure about the tenancy , make bank transfer , and ask for receipt confirming the payment, and get it mentioned in the tenancy agreement as well.
Agent will give you confirmation receipt , acknowledging the payment .
Once you make this payment , ask the letting agency for confirming getting that payment in their accounts.
If it is a bank transfer from your end , it would be suffice proof , agency can not say they did not get that money.
If you need further assistance, please let me know.
Thank you and all the best.
My pleasure, thanks again.