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Sorry to hear that you both lost jobs during covid, it really has been a bad two years.
Unfortunately, it is a catch 22 situation you are in. The agent wants fees upfront, and understandably you dont have these.
As long as you give written consent to the agent o deduct these from the deposit then they can do that. The only cause for concern they may have is if there is problems with the property which would be dealt with from deposit money and there not being enough deposit if they use it for the other purpose.
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