Q&A – TV Licensing, students and the law
Will I be covered by my parent’s TV licence while I’m away at university?
If you’re moving into halls of residence and planning to use TV receiving equipment in your own room, you will need your own separate licence.
If you are sharing with friends off campus you will need to check whether you need to purchase an individual licence for yourself or whether one licence will cover the whole house/flat. Usually, a shared tenancy agreement would mean only one licence is needed, regardless of the number of TV sets in the house; while a separate tenancy agreement would mean that you will need your own TV licence if you have a TV in your room. Only one licence is required if the only TV in the house is in a communal area, but you still need to make sure one of you sorts it out!
If I watch TV on my PC rather than on a television set, will I still need a TV licence?
You will need to obtain a licence if you use a PC to watch or record TV programmes as they are being broadcast in the UK (e.g. via an aerial) or otherwise distributed (e.g. via broadband, internet streaming or wi-fi).
Once you have bought a TV licence, you will be entitled to watch live television on any device at that address, whether it is on a television set or a PC.
I’ve just bought a mobile phone which gets live TV – do I need a separate licence for it?
If you only ever watch TV (as it is being broadcast in the UK) on your mobile phone, then you will be covered by your parent’s licence. This is the case for any television receiving equipment powered solely by its own internal battery. However, if the phone is being used to watch programmes as they are being shown on TV and is plugged into mains electricity, then you would need your own separate licence. And, of course, if your parents don’t have a licence themselves, you’ll need to buy one, regardless of how the phone is powered.
How much does a TV licence cost?
A colour TV licence currently costs £145.50 for a year.
I’ve heard that some students are entitled to a partial refund on the TV licence. Will this apply to me?
The good news is that if you purchase your TV licence in October, and you don’t need it for July, August and September (three full calendar months), you could be eligible for a refund for those three months.
What if I forget to purchase a licence?
If you watch TV without a licence you’ll be breaking the law, so it is important you remember to buy one! The TV Licensing database lists addresses that don’t have a TV licence, including university accommodation, and they do visit unlicensed rooms in halls and on campus, as well as student homes off site. Anyone caught risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000, and you will still need to buy a licence on top of that, which wouldn’t be a great start to your university career.
If you need further information, including details on the many ways to pay, visit the TV Licensing website or call them on 0300 790 6090.