House to House Collections

Why do I need a licence?

To carry out house-to-house collections for charitable purposes in England and Wales you need a licence from the local authority.

You may also need a street collection licence. Click the following link for more information about Street Collection permits 

Why do I need to apply?

Whereas street collection permits are normally issued to cover a period of one or two days, a house to house collection permit can be granted for any period up to one year. 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 following the collection. Collections generally take place from door to door or from one house to another.

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.

You must be a fit and proper person.

What do the regulations say?

House to House Collections Act 1939

Is the licence granted if you do not hear from the Licensing Authority? - (Tacit Consent)
No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period of 28 days, please contact Milton Keynes Council.

Apply online for a House To House Collection Licence

If you want to collect money or sell items on the street for charity and need a street collection licence, you can  Apply online for a Street Collection Licence


Download Applications Forms and Apply by post:

What if the application is refused?

Unlike street collections, there is a statutory right of appeal against the refusal to grant a house to house collection permit. Appeals must be lodged within 14 days of the refusal. In this case, the right of appeal is to the Secretary Minister for the Cabinet Office, and the grounds for refusal are set out in the Act itself.

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.

Please contact Milton Keynes Council in the first instance at the contact details on this page.

Can I appeal against a refused application?

You have the right to appeal to the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Appeals must be lodged within 14 days of the decision.

Please contact Milton Keynes Council in the first instance at the contact details on this page.

Making a complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice Bureau will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Last Updated: 9 July 2020