Everything you need to know about the TV Licence

Even if you don’t manage to become an expert in your field of study while at uni, there’s one thing you’re bound to understand inside out by the time you finish, and that’s the TV Licence. It’s £147 of your money every year (or a £1,000 fine without one), so it’s worth working out if you have to pay it or not before you fork out.


When you need a TV Licence

You need a TV licence to watch or record any live television broadcast or to watch BBC iPlayer. You don’t need a licence to watch other catch up services (All4, ITV Player) or streaming services such as Netflix or Prime Video.

Your flat or house licence may not cover your room

This depends on whether you have a separate tenancy agreement for your room (usually the case in halls) or a joint tenancy agreement (usually the case in a house). If you have a joint tenancy, one TV licence is enough to cover the whole house. If you have a tenancy agreement for your room only, you’ll need a TV licence to watch TV in your room, regardless of whether there is already one for the flat.

There are ways around it

If your out-of-term address (usually your parents’ house) has a TV licence, you may be able to get away without a licence of your own. You can watch TV using your parent’s licence as long as you only watch on devices that aren’t connected to an aerial or power source. So if you charge up your phone, tablet or laptop and then unplug it from the wall, you can watch whatever you want using your parent’s licence. But if you want to watch using a TV or if you want to be able to plug in your laptop, you’ll need your own licence.

You can get a refund if you don’t need it for the whole year

If you’re going home for the summer and only need a licence for nine months or so, you can fill out a form on the TV Licensing website for a partial refund, as long as you do it at least a month before the licence expires.

You need to tell them when you move

Whether you move into a new house or back with your parents, you need to let TV Licensing know if you were a licence holder previously. You can do this either online or by phone, and they will ask where you have moved to, and if you need a licence at your new property.

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