Landlords and letting agents are free to ask for rent payments upfront if they wish, but very few ask for 12 months' rent upfront.
The Government is determined to ensure that tenants’ rent money held by agents is protected. We will require letting agents to obtain membership of a Client Money Protection (CMP) scheme and to repay any client money without delay where it is due to the tenant. We intend this protection to be mandatory from 1 April 2019.
We are also developing a new regulatory regime for letting agents. The Regulation of Property Agents working group, led by Lord Best, will make recommendations about a joined-up framework to guide, monitor and police the actions of letting agents. The working group will report in July 2019.