I was looking at apartments in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire today. I did not put down a deposit for any of them. I might stay in a trailer park temporarily, or in a Bed and Breakfast if I have to start the job soon.
All of the apartments were vacant. I was not asked by the estate agent to remove my shoes in any of them. Unsurprising, because some of them were not very clean. No doubt the floors and carpets of some of them would be cleaner if the landlords requried the estate agent to ask for shoes-off.