Do I need to pay for a TV licence?

You may not have had to worry about paying for a TV licence before – find out all you need to know in our helpful guide

3 min read


Do I need to pay for a TV License?

Yes – if you are watching live TV, you need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes, including download. Your room needs to be covered by its own licence if you’re plugged in to watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or if you download programmes. If there are TVs in communal areas, check with your halls manager to see if they’re covered by as on any channel.

This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder. If you do any of the above without a valid licence, you risk prosecution and a maximum penalty of up to £1,000, plus any legal costs and/or compensation you may be ordered to pay. You will also still have to buy a TV Licence if you need one.

To find out more, go to tvlicensing.co.uk/studentinfo


How can I buy a TV Licence?

There are lots of different ways to buy a TV Licence. Whether that’s through weekly cash payments, using your nearest PayPoint outlet, spreading the cost with monthly, quarterly or yearly direct debit, credit/debit card or by post – just choose the one that suits you best.

For more information on the ways to pay, go to tvlicensing.co.uk/payinfo


If I live in halls, won’t I already be covered by a TV Licence?

Your room needs to be covered by its own licence if you’re plugged in to watch or record programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or if you download programmes. If there are TVs in communal areas, check with your halls manager to see if they’re covered by a halls licence.


What if I live in a shared house?

You’ll probably only need one licence between you if you have a joint tenancy agreement for the whole house – this is the most common type of shared house arrangement. You might need your own licence if your accommodation is self-contained. That means you have exclusive access to washing facilities, or your own entrance to the property. You will also need your own licence if you have a separate tenancy agreement for your own room. If you’re not sure, find out more about advice for tenants and lodgers.


Won’t my parents’ licence cover me? 

Your parents’ licence will not cover you while you’re away at uni unless you only use a device that’s powered solely by its own internal batteries and not connected to the mains.


What if I’m not at uni for the summer?

If you’re leaving your halls or rented accommodation and moving back home for the summer, there’s a good chance you won’t need your TV Licence if there’s one at home. You can see our policy and apply for a refund online.


What if I don’t need a licence?

If you don’t need a TV Licence, you still need to let TV Licensing know.