All you need to know about TV licences

You may have heard of a TV Licence… but what is it? And what does it cover?

Well, a TV Licence is a fee you pay in order to legally watch, or stream, live tv, or anything on BBC iPlayer. That’s all there is to it! Any other on demand (or ‘not live’) service is not covered, and so you are completely fine to watch Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, all4, itvHub (and so on), without a TV licence… As long as what you’re watching isn’t live, or anything on BBC iPlayer! Now, if you don’t want to – or can’t – pay the TV licence fee, that’s fine… as long as you don’t watching anything that requires a TV licence as you could face a hefty fine.

Some student accommodations come with a TV in the shared living space, with a TV licence already paid for! But it’s important to check this with student accommodation. If there is a TV in the living space, with a license paid for, it’s important to note that it doesn’t automatically cover any other TV in the flat. This means, if you’re looking to do anything requiring a TV licence (watch live TV or anything on BBC iPlayer), in your room, separate from the TV in the living space… you have to pay the licence fee.

But what about third-party accommodation? Well, obviously this varies depending on the lettings agency. Always ask the lettings agents whether your flat, studio, or house is covered by a TV licence. It’s sometimes in the tenancy agreement, but isn’t always, so do check.

Finally, what to do if a scary letter comes through the letter box one day. This happened to me recently, where the government sent a letter explaining that my flat wasn’t covered by a TV licence. I don’t really watch TV, or iPlayer, so I hadn’t given TV licensing much consideration. But I thought it best to check with the lettings agency for my flat anyway. The lettings agency said that we are – in fact – covered by a TV licence that applies to the entire building! This is why it’s important to check with the lettings agents whether you are covered or not. Try not to let a deliberately scary letter with big red circles around the word ‘fine’ frighten you into buying a TV licence that you’re already covered by!

In summary, if you watch live TV, or anything on BBC iPlayer, check with your accommodation provider to see if you’re covered by a TV licence. If not, make sure to get one, or choose not to watch live TV, or anything on BBC iPlayer.

That’s live TV, or anything on BBC iPlayer!