I am being reference checked without clicking "Rent Now" or paying deposit

I am interested in one flat that already has other potential tenants being reference checked. I expressed my interest in the flat to the landlord in DM and they initiated a reference check for me. As a result, I am currently being reference checked without

  1. clicking on “Rent Now”, or
  2. paying the deposit.

My question is:
What does this mean for me legally? If I pass reference check in the future and the landlord indeed chooses me, can I reject their offer without being legally obligated to pay anything?

yes a landlord will want to check you out first

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