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House to house collection licence

A house to house licence, also known as a permit, is required to carry out a collection for a charitable purpose, either door to door, or from one public house to another. It is issued under the House to House Collections Act 1939. We grant permits to charities or organisations.

We can grant a permit for any period up to 1 year, although in practice most permits are issued for periods of between 1 and 2 weeks. With regard to vetting and checking to ascertain whether the organisation applying is genuine or not, the same procedures apply as for street collections.

As with street collection permits, there is a requirement for the promoter of the collection to make a return (to include total proceeds collected) within one month of the expiry of the permit.

Who should apply for a permit

Some of the larger well-known charities such as Christian Aid, Help the Aged etc, have a Charity Commission exemption from having to apply for a permit, but by and large most of the smaller, and particularly local groups and organisations need a permit before they can collect money (or articles which they intend to sell later), from door to door.

How to apply

The application should be submitted not later than 1 month before the date on which the collection is proposed to start. The application must be signed by the applicant who will be the person responsible for the collection and for submitting the return.  

There is no cost involved, but there are rules to be followed in applying and regulations which govern this type of collection which can be found in the application form.

To apply for this licence:

We are unable to accept this form by email because it must have a signature. Please print the form, sign it and return it to:

Environmental Services
Unit 1
Newfields Business Park
2 Stinsford Road
BH17 0NF

Refusal of a permit

One of the key grounds for refusal would be where the total amount likely to be applied for charitable purpose as a result of the collection, is inadequate in proportion to the value of the proceeds likely to be received. So, for instance, where an applicant intends to claim a fair proportion of the proceeds of the collection for expenses, a permit could be refused. There is no statutory guidance to local authorities on what would be a reasonable amount for expenses.

Right of appeal

Unlike street collections, there is a statutory right of appeal against the refusal to grant a house to house collection permit. In this case, the right of appeal is to the Secretary of State, and the grounds for refusal are set out in the Act itself.

Further information

Further details of the regulations can be found on the apply for a house to house collection page.

If you are seeking information about a registered charity or the procedures involved in setting up or running a charity please contact the Charity Commission

Page last updated: 04 November 2019
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