About massage and special treatment licences

If you want to provide massage and special treatments at a premises you must have a licence. Special treatments could include:

  • massage
  • manicure
  • chiropody
  • light treatments, such as sunbeds
  • electric treatments, such as electrolysis
  • other treatments involving heat, light or vapour, such as sauna or other bath treatments

View all special treatments (PDF).

Fines and penalties

You could be fined if you don’t have a licence, or break any conditions of your licence.

It is an offence to provide or advertise special treatments without a licence, unless there is an exemption in place. Any person found guilty may have to pay a fine of up to £2,500.

Who can apply

You can be an individual, company or partnership. If you are applying as an individual or a partnership you must:

  • not have been refused a licence for the premises within the last 12 months, unless the refusal has been reversed on appeal
  • not have been convicted of an offence under Part II of the London Local Authorities Act 1991 within the last 5 years
  • declare any spent or unspent convictions
  • be deemed to be fit and proper persons

If applying as a company, the company must:

  • be incorporated in the UK
  • declare whether persons involved in the company have any spent or unspent convictions
  • not have been convicted of an offence under Part II of the London Local Authorities Act 1991 within the last 5 years

Anyone who has been convicted of any indecent or immoral act, or act of violence, cannot be employed in the establishment unless we give permission.

Who does not need a licence

Premises where the special treatments are carried out by, or under the supervision of a medical practitioner registered with the General Medical Council may be exempt and not required to be licensed.

Some treatments do not require licensing if the therapist administering them is a member of an exempt organisations (PDF). Exemption only applies to the special treatments in the ‘Treatments’ column next to the organisation.

If you offer any other special treatments at the premises that are not administered by a member of a relevant exempt organisation, the premises will require a licence.

If you believe you are exempt from the requirement to licence you must present evidence to us to show this is the case. Otherwise, you must apply for a licence.

Costs

1. A category A premises costs:

  • New application: £2,315.83
  • Annual renewal: £2,285.07
  • Transfer: £154.02
  • Executors of deceased licensee (remainder of licence year): £154.02 
  • Variation to Licence (New treatment similar to existing): £154.02 
  • Variation to Licence (New category of treatment): £231.54

2. A category B premises costs:

  • New application: £870.06
  • Annual renewal: £683.40
  • Transfer: £154.02
  • Executors of deceased licensee (remainder of licence year): £154.02
  • Variation to Licence: £151.00 (New treatment similar to existing)
  • Variation to Licence (New treatment similar to existing): £154.02
  • Variation to Licence (New category of treatment): £231.54

Apply for a licence

Before you apply

Read the:

You will need:

  • 2 colour passport size photos, taken within the last year - sign the back of each photo
  • a copy of your passport or drivers licence
  • original marriage certificate or deed poll documents if applicable
  • any licensing approval documents from another local authority
  • original qualification certificates for each of the treatments you wish to do
  • a comparability certificate if your qualifications have been obtained from outside the UK, including any official certificate translations
  • proof of your home address, such as a recent bank statement
  • your Hepatitis B immunisation card - piercers and tattooists only

Apply for a massage and special treatment licence

Alternatively, complete the application form (PDF).

Floor plans

Your application must include clear, current scale 1:50 floor plans of the premises, showing:

  • the lay-out, including all external and internal walls
  • all rooms used for treatments - clearly labelled to identify which treatments are carried out in which room
  • the provision of ventilation, fans, wash hand basins, sinks, sterilization areas, WC’s, etc.
  • fire exits and escape routes
  • the provision of any emergency lighting, fire alarm system installed
  • the location of any windows and stairs and all entrance or exit doors

We need proof that you have sent a copy of your application and any floor plans or safety certificates to the police and Fire Authority.

You need to send these to:

Metropolitan Police, Licensing Sergeant
Holborn Police Station,
10 Lambs Conduit Street
London WC1N 3NR

LFEPA, Fire Safety Regulation
South West Area 4
169 Union Street
London SE1 0LL

Electrical inspection certificates

We also need electrical inspection certificates covering:

  • main electrical installation
  • portable appliances
  • fire alarm
  • emergency lighting
  • fire-fighting equipment

All certification must be issued by a 'competent person', e.g. a member of the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting (NICEIC) or the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA).

What happens after you apply

Before approving a licence, our health and safety team will visit the premises. We will contact you to arrange a date and time for the inspection.

If the premises fails the inspection, work may be needed to improve health and safety arrangements. These works will then need to be checked before a decision can be made. If you are unable to meet the requirements, your application may be refused or conditions attached to your licence or parts of the premises may be restricted from use.

We aim to process your application within 2 months. If your application is not processed within this time it will not be considered granted. We will contact you when a decision is made.

Refunds

The application fee includes the cost:

  • to process your application
  • to carry out enforcement of the licence

If your application is refused, we will refund the enforcement part of the fee (67% of the total).

If you cancel your licence within the first 4 months, we can only refund the enforcement part of the fee. After 4 months we will refund the amount equal to the remaining months on the licence.

Appeal

You can appeal a decision on your licence application or any term, condition or restriction within 21 days of being notified. You must send your appeal to the Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.

Renew or change a licence

Renew a licence

Generally licences last for 12 months. Special treatment licences are renewed on 1 April each year. We sometimes grant licences for shorter or longer periods of up to 18 months to bring premises into the right renewal period.

We may refuse to grant, renew or transfer, or we may cancel a licence if the persons providing the treatments or the premises are considered unsuitable.

Transfer or vary a licence

A licence holder may apply to vary the terms of their licence to add treatments or to extend the licensed area to other parts of the premises. The application process is similar to that for a new application.

Vary your licence application form (PDF)

Transfer your licence application form (PDF)