Television Licences

Do I need a TV Licence?

You'll need a TV Licence if you watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service. This includes watching them on a TV, desktop computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, games console, digital box and DVD/VHS recorder. 

Your Halls of Residence will probably have a licence covering communal areas, but it won't cover your room.

If you live in shared private-rented accommodation, the number of licences you need will depend on what type of tenancy agreement you have:

•    If you're sharing a house with other students and use a TV in your room and your room is a separately occupied space (a separate tenancy agreement would normally indicate that this is the case) you'll need your own licence. If you have separate tenancy agreements but there is only one TV being used in a communal area then only one licence is needed.
•    If you're sharing a house with other students and use a TV in your own room but the house can be treated as one place shared by all (a joint tenancy agreement would usually show this is the case), only one TV licence is needed.
You don’t need a TV licence if you don’t watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on live TV, or any device. Likewise, you don’t need a licence if your out-of-term address is covered by a TV Licence, and you only use TV receiving equipment that is powered solely by its own internal batteries and it is not connected to an aerial or plugged into the mains.

How will anyone know if I don’t have a TV Licence?

TV Licensing’s database lists addresses that don’t have a TV licence, including university accommodation. If you use television-receiving equipment without a valid TV licence, you risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000, plus court costs, and you will also need to buy a TV licence if you still need one!  

How much is a TV Licence?

A colour TV licence currently costs £154.50 per year.

How do I buy a TV licence?

You can buy or renew your TV licence online by visiting the TV Licensing website. You can also buy a licence by paying by post, direct debit, via a savings card or over the counter at a Paypoint outlet.

What if I don't need a TV Licence?

It's worth checking carefully before informing TV Licensing that you don't need a licence as they do make visits to confirm that one isn't needed. If you are sure, you can tell them you don’t need a TV Licence.


You may be able to get a refund if you don’t need your licence during the summer holidays. As long as your licence is still valid for at least one full calendar month and you don’t need it again before it expires, you can get some money back!

More information about television licences can be found in the USEFUL LINKS section on this webpage.

If you have any questions about television licences, or need advice relating to TV licences, please contact Students' Union Advice.

Useful Links

TV Licensing – information for students:

No licence needed policy:

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