Should I pay anything before I sign?

This is a straight up no. 

A good landlord will not expect you to pay any money before a contract is signed, and that includes a deposit or rent payments.

Some landlords ask for anything between £100-£200 per person as a ‘holding fee’ or ‘admin fee’ to hold the property while you get the contract checked and consider if it’s the right property for you. This is wasted money that you may not get back.

A landlord should always give you 24 hours to think a contract over so they shouldn’t be charging to hold a house for you, and this puts a lot of pressure on you to sign.

If you decide against the property after getting the contract checked or looking into the landlord, there is a chance you will lose the holding fee. 

It is a criminal offence for a letting agent to charge you just to register or to supply details of accommodation.