When do I need a TV licence?

You need a TV licence if you intend to watch live broadcasted television programs.

Where can I get a licence?


Am I covered by my parent's licence?

Only if you consider your parent's house to be your 'permanent' address and you are watching tv on a device not plugged into mains electricity (ie. a laptop).
TV Licences are per house, so if you move out of your parent's house you will not be covered by their licence. If you have signed a seperate tenant agreement when moving into a new house then you will need your own personal licence if you have a TV in your bedroom.

Do I need a licence if I am in university halls?

Most likely yes. If you have a joint tenancy agreement with your housemates then you only need 1 licence between you all. If you have a seperate tenancy agreement then you will each need your own licences.

Do I need 2 licences if I am in a shared house and have a TV in my own room and a communal area?

No. As long as 1 of you has a licence it can cover their bedroom and a tv in the communal area.

Do I need a TV licence if I watch tv on a laptop?

If you are using a laptop (or any other device) to watch live television then you still need a licence, unless the laptop is unplugged from the mains and operating from battery power in which case you will be covered by your parent's licence (see above).

Do I need a TV licence to watch on a portable tv?

The use of a television set, which is powered solely by its own internal batteries will be covered for any address by the user’s main home licence. However, if the user plugs the set into the mains or connects it to any external power source such as a car battery, a separate licence would be needed.

What about foreign TV?

It used to be the case that televisions receiving a broadcast from outside the UK (e.g. Satellite from Germany, Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Netherlands where many channels are Free to Air) did not need a licence, but this was changed by the Communications Act (2003), so that the reception of television from any source requires a TV licence.

Do I need a licence to watch DVDs/Videos/Streaming videos/iPlayer etc?

You need a licence to watch live television, even if it is being streamed through the internet. Most shows on iPlayer, 4od etc are not live and so do not need a licence.

Do I need a licence if I only use my TV for playing consol games?


What should I do if i recieve a letter from the licence inspectors and I dont have/need a licence?

If you do not have a TV licence and do not need one (as in the examples above) then you should do nothing. You do not need to contact the tvla for any reason. You do not need to 'inform' them of the situation. Their letters will state you have to call them to say you don't need a TV licence, however this is incorrect and has been proven in parliment.

Do I have to let a licence inspector into my house?

NO!! Without a search warrent, TV licence inspectors have no more right to enter your home then any other stranger on the street. You are under no obligation to let them in unless they have a search warrent (Which 99.9% of the time they wont have).

Wont it make me look guilty if I dont let them in?

Not at all. It is their job to prove your guilt, not your job to prove your innocence. The licensing inspectors are not the police, they are not the judge or jury. They are a private company hired to do a job and as such have no more powers then a private citizen. Refusing them entry is not an admission of guilt.

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