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Renting a flat with help of agencies (London)

I've been considering moving to London for some time now. My plan is to first find a job and a flat before I even move from Germany.

I was wondering what role the rental agencies have in the renting process. Here in Germany they only take your money once you decided to rent a flat. They do some paperwork and the contract and that's it. Their costs are completely covered by the future tenant, not the landlord (by paying the provision).

How is it in UK. Do they help you find something appropriate based on your requirements? What exactly do they do? How much does it cost?

What other costs would I have the first month when I move in? Insurance deposit, agency costs, first rent...?