Most private landlords will require at least one month’s rent in advance in addition to the tenancy deposit. If you pay advance rent and a tenancy deposit simultaneously clarify what each payment is for as well as how much rent is covered by the payment. Make sure you get a receipt if you pay cash for both payments stipulating what they are for.
There is no legal limit on the amount of advance rent you can be charged. Some landlords may require up to 6 months’ rent in advance. Your landlord can however not charge you more than what your rent would be for the given period and may not disguise any extra fees within the advance payments.
Make sure that you clarify with your landlord when your next rental payment is due and that this date is stipulated in your tenancy agreement. Most of the time you will not have to make your next payment until the months you have paid upfront have passed (Example Scenario 1).
However, a landlord can ask for advance rent to cover the first month of your tenancy as well as the last month when your tenancy comes to an end (Scenario 2).
Example Scenario 1
Your tenancy starts on 1 January and your monthly rent is £700.
Your landlord requires 2 months’ rent in advance. You will therefore pay £1400 rent before you move in (£700 x 2 months) and your next payment will only be due on 1 March.
Example Scenario 2
Your tenancy starts on 1 January with a monthly rent of £700. You pay £1400 rent in advance.
Your contract states that £700 is allocated to the first month of your tenancy and £700 is for the final month. Your next payment of £700 is, therefore, due on 1 February but you will not have to pay rent in the final month of your tenancy since you have paid this in advance.