House-to-house collections

Details about house-to-house collections, how to apply for a licence or submit a statement of accounts (a return) after a collection.

House-to-house collectors are people calling at houses asking for donations at the door, sometimes leaving an envelope to be collected later. They sometimes collect clothes or other articles for charity.

House-to-house collections are regulated by the House-to-House Collections Act 1939.

If you are collecting house-to-house (or pub-to-pub) you must have a licence from us, or a Home Office exemption order (issued to large charities).

You don't need a licence for a collection that takes place:

  • Under an exemption (from the police or Home Office)
  • During a public meeting
  • By using an unattended collecting tin, kept in a fixed position, in a public place

How to apply for a house-to-house collections licence

You can apply online for a licence using the GOV.UK website.

Apply online - house-to-house collection permit

To do this you will need to use Adobe Reader 8.1 or above.  Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.

If you prefer you can download the form here:

pdf icon House-to-house collection permit [99kb]

You should make the application for a licence at least 28 days before the proposed collection.

Planning a date for your house-to-house collection

To avoid disappointment and to help with the planning of a house-to-house collection, we would encourage applicants to provisionally 'book' their preferred collection dates before applying for their  collections licence.

To provisionally 'book' your preferred collection dates, please contact our Licensing team using the contact details on this page.

This 'booking' service is offered on a 'first-come, first-served' basis and on the understanding that any 'booking' is provisional only. It is also subject to our general approach to allocating dates and policies on the equality of opportunity outlined in our pdf icon Guidance for applicants - House-to-house collections licence [180kb].

Cost

There is no fee to apply for this licence.

Inspections and assessment

You must supply a statement of accounts (a return) for any previous collections you've carried out.

You must also supply suitable supporting literature about the charity or charitable purpose that will benefit from the collection.

You may have to have a police check and declare the likely amounts that will be  claimed as expenses or deducted from the amount you raise.

Our licensing officers and/or the police may visit you and you should be able to present your licence at any time.

More information and guidance

For more information on how to apply for a house-to-house collections licence, please see our guidance notes below.

pdf icon Guidance for applicants - House-to-house collections licence [180kb]

What happens once we receive your application

Applications can take up to 28 days to process.

Don't assume your licence has been granted if you haven't heard from us.

The licence is only valid for the period printed on it. You must apply for a new licence for each future collection.

You must submit a statement of accounts (a return) after each collection.

How to appeal our decision

If we refuse your application, contact us - we may be able to help.

You have the right to appeal to the Minister for the Cabinet Office, within 14 days of our decision.

Offences and penalties

It is an offence to hold a charitable collection without a permit from us.

The courts may fine you up to £200 if found guilty.

Customer complaints

If you have a complaint against a charity, we advise you to contact the charity first - preferably by letter (with proof of delivery).

If this doesn't work

If you are outside the UK, you should contact the UK European Consumer Centre.

Submit a statement of accounts (a return form)

After each collection, you must submit a return form that tells us how much money you raised as well as how much you spent on expenses, such as printing, stationery and collectors.

You must send this form back to us within one month of the collection.
It must be signed by the promoter and either an accountant or an independent responsible person.

You can submit the return form online using the GOV.UK website.

Submit online - send us a house-to-house collection return form

To do this you will need to use Adobe Reader 8.1 or above.  Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.

If you prefer you can download the form here:

pdf icon Return form for house-to-house collection permits [49kb]

 
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