A TV licence is a necessity for every UK household. With 95% of all homes in the British Isles owning a television. It has become a huge part of our daily lives, meaning a TV licence is required to enable us to watch shows without restraint and legally.
A TV licence is a licence which allows you to watch TV programmes on live TV, and stream from multiple different online providers. It is paid for by a one-off fee of £159 for a colour TV, and £53.50 for a black and white TV. Some people are exempt from paying some or the entirety of the fee, for example over 75s and severely visually impaired individuals. A TV licence is in the name of the bill payer, but covers everyone who lives at that address, meaning only one licence is needed per household, unless you have over 15 devices in your house, in which case another TV licence must be purchased for every extra 5 devices. A TV licence isn’t just required for a TV- it is also compulsory for streaming or watching shows on things such as mobile devices, DVD players and so on.
Although the above paragraph provides a brief summary of this articles content, below contains much more information on this topic (for example, information on whether your TV licence covers you at another address). It is recommended you read on to gain a broader knowledge on the entirety of this subject. So, without further ado, let’s begin!
What is a TV Licence?
A TV licence is a licence that anyone in the UK must acquire if they wish to watch live television on any channel, or stream services through a multitude of different companies and devices. Without it, you are not legally permitted to watch any sort of programme on any device (whether that be a TV, mobile phone, DVD player and so on).
What Do You Need a TV Licence For?
A TV licence is required for those who wish to watch any form of live television in the UK. A popular belief is that a TV licence is only necessitated when watching programmes from the BBC (a prevalent British TV broadcaster), however this is a false claim. It is also needed for those who wish to record live TV also.
A TV licence is also compulsory to download or stream any programmes online, whether it be through Disney+, ITV, Amazon Prime Video or even YouTube in some cases.
Even if you do not own a TV, a TV licence is still needed if you want to stream through a mobile device, watch films on a DVD player, on a tablet or any other devices with the function to watch videos.
When Do You Not Need a TV Licence?
There are a multitude of circumstances when a TV licence is not required.
Firstly, if you simply do not watch TV. If you do not use any sort of device (whether that be a TV, mobile phone, DVD player etc.) to watch TV live as it’s shown on TV, or to stream programmes online, a TV Licence is not needed.
Secondly, if you own one of these devices but do not use it to stream anything.
Does a TV Licence Cover the Person or the Address?
Now to the section of this article you came for: does a TV licence cover the person or the address? Well, technically the answer is both!
When a TV licence is issued, it is in the bill payers name, however it covers the whole address. Therefore, any permanent resident in the bill payers listed address is entitled to watch anything that a TV licence is required for.
Can You Still Watch TV if You Move Out?
If you move out of the residence of your previous TV licence holder, there are three events that could occur, depending on the circumstances.
Firstly, if you move into your own accommodation, you will be required to pay the TV licence price, unless you move in with someone else who is going to pay instead. Whoever pays the bill will have the TV licence under their name.
Secondly, if you move into someone else’s house who already previously paid, you are legally entitled to watch TV under their licence, therefore resulting in you not having to pay anything towards this.
Finally, if you are the bill payer, and you move house, you will still have to continue paying the bill for your TV licence, however you will have to undergo the process of switching your address.
Does Your TV Licence Cover You at Another Address?
Whether you are staying at a friend’s house or in a hotel, you may be wondering whether your TV licence covers you at these addresses? Is there some way you have to pay for another TV licence to be able to watch TV at these locations?
The short answer is- fortunately- no! Your TV licence covers you wherever you go, so there is no need to request a second one.
However, if you own a second home (for example, a holiday house) you will be obligated to buy a second TV licence for this address. The only other time you would legally be obligated to purchase another TV licence is if you plug one of your devices into the mains at a separate address.
Does My TV Licence Cover Multiple TVs at a Singular Address?
If you have multiple TVs or any type of streaming device in your house, you may be questioning whether your TV licence covers all of these devices, any luckily it does! No matter how many devices there are in your household, you TV licence covers them all.
However, if the number of devices in your household exceeds 15, you have to pay an extra £159 for every 5 devices extra you have. So, for example, if you owned 18 devices, you would have to pay the extra £159.
If You Cancel Your TV Licence Can People at Your Address Watch TV?
The answer to this question unfortunately not. Unless they are a holder of their own TV licence themselves, they will not be able to watch any sort of programme on TV, whether it be live or streamed.
Can You Obtain A TV Licence for Free?
Certain people in the UK are eligible for a free TV licence. They must conform with this criteria:
- Age 74 or over
- Currently receiving pension credit
- If you do not fit the criteria above, but have a partner living at the same address who does
This type of TV licence is called an ‘Over 75 TV Licence’, and in March 2020 the number of these licences in action was averaged at around 4.67 million! If you or someone you know is eligible for this licence but does not yet own one, you can visit the official website here and apply for one.
There are also ways to have your TV licence fee waivered. This applies if you are a current care home resident or are severely visually impaired.
If you currently live in a care home, you may be entitled to a fee reduction to just £7.50, a huge discount.
If you are blind, you are entitled to a discount of 50% of the original license fee, bringing it down to £79.50 for a colour TV, and £26.75 for a black and white TV.
How Do You Change the Name or Address on the TV Licence?
If circumstances have changed, for example you have moved house, you will need to change the name and/or address that your licence is in. To do this, you must visit this page, and fill in all the necessary details to get it changed.
You can also change to other details, such as telephone numbers, email addresses, bank details or your preference on how you receive your licence. It is a very simple and easy process, and one that will not take you very much time to complete.
How Much Does a TV Licence Cost?
A TV licence is a one-time payment, and once it is paid there are no extra fees involved! It costs £159 for a colour TV licence, and £53.50 for a black and white TV. This payment can be paid all at once, or through spread instalments.
There are some people who are exempt to the cost or can have the fee waivered. More information on who is eligible for a fee lowering is above.
How Do You Cancel Your TV Licence?
If, for whatever reason, you decide you would like to cancel your TV licence, you can do so through the official website. You must then follow a different set of instructions depending on how you paid.
If you paid via direct debit, you must fill in the contact form provided on the page linked here. You will need to fill in your reasons for cancelling and your current address (or your old one if you have just recently moved).
If you paid via TV licencing paying card you must call the service also linked here.
Do You Get Refunded If You Cancel Your TV Licence?
If you have now successfully cancelled your TV licence, you may be wondering whether you are now entitled to a refund? Well, the answer is possibly. There are certain circumstances where you will be eligible for a refund, but also when you are not.
Circumstances you could be in that mean you are eligible for a refund include:
- If you won’t need your licence now until it expires
- If you have one whole month left on your TV licence
Do You Need a TV Licence When Watching Foreign Programmes in the UK?
The answer to this question is yes- you do need a TV licence to watch foreign channels. Whether it is a sporting event being broadcasted from outside the UK or a foreign TV show, a UK TV licence is required to be able to legally watch all of these types of shows.