Licensing of House to House Collections
A permit is required to undertake a ‘house to house’ collection, under the House to House Collections Act 1939.
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 within 3 months following the collection.
Collections generally take place from door to door or from one public 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.
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.
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. For instance, where an applicant intends to claim an unreasonable 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.