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 licence?

You will need a TV Licence if you want to watch, stream or record live TV as it's being broadcast, or if you're using BBC iPlayer, on any device (such as phones, tablets and games consoles).  If you only ever use other online on-demand services (such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney+), you don't need one.
You will need to buy a TV Licence if:
  • You're watching or recording programmes as they're being shown live on TV, on any channel. 
  • You're watching, recording or downloading any programmes on BBC iPlayer. This applies to all channels (including +1 channels) on any mainstream TV platform, including Freeview, Sky or Virgin.
  • You're watching, streaming or recording any live TV on any platform (including online TV services, YouTube or Amazon Prime). For example, if you're watching a live football match being streamed via ITV Hub at the same time as it's being broadcast on ITV, you would need a TV Licence for this.
  • If you watch 'live TV' from a channel that isn't broadcast in the UK (including those picked up via satellite or online), you will still need to be covered by a valid TV licence. This is regardless of the country of origin or the language of the broadcast.
Please note: If you are found to be watching live TV or BBC iPlayer without a licence, you can be fined up to £1,000. You will need to organise your own TV Licence for your room in halls if you want to watch live TV or BBC iPlayer. 
You can find out more information about buying a TV Licence and what it covers on the TV Licensing website.

Frequently Asked Questions

"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 want to watch, stream or record programmes as they’re being shown live on TV,  if they're being broadcast live on an online TV service, or if you download programmes from BBC iPlayer. If there are TVs in communal areas in your hall, check with your halls manager to see if they’re covered by a halls licence.
"Will my parents' TV 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 over 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 their policy and apply for a refund online.
"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
"What if I don’t need a TV Licence?"
If you don’t need a TV Licence, you should still let TV Licensing know.
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