Do students need a TV licence at University?

Students TV licence


Yes, it’s that’s time of the year again when students are heading back to University with a bag of clean washing and a bulging overdraft thanks to a summer of travelling and socialising.

Once you get back to your student halls or rented house, you’ll have a lot of time to kill, because you probably only have 3 or 4 hours of lectures each week. And what better way to spend your valuable revision time than watching the telly? But will you need to buy a TV licence or is there a loophole in the law that enables you to get something for nothing?

The student loophole

Well, according to the law (with the exception of BBC iPlayer) you don’t need a licence if you never watch or record live TV as it is broadcast and only watch ‘catch-up’. The TV licencing people say that this is about 2% of the adult population.

The good news is that there IS a loophole students can take advantage of, as long as you stick to the rules. And the loophole allows you to watch live TV and iPlayer without a licence.

Primary address of student

Firstly, your parents must have a TV licence, and their house must be your primary address – the address where all your mail is delivered to – and if that’s the case, then you’re covered for watching live TV and iPlayer.

For this to be legal, you can only watch on a mobile or portable device such as a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. Basically, a device that can function without being plugged in to the mains. So, anything that uses battery power to function. If your device needs charging, then you have to stop watching TV while you have it plugged in.

If you’re renting a house with others, and all your names are on the tenancy agreement, you only need one TV licence for the whole house if the TV is in a communal area. If you have a separate tenancy agreement for your own room, then you’ll need a TV licence.

Students TV licence

Living the dream…

If you’re a student and registered blind, you’ll get 50% discount off any licence fee.

If you are a student and you already have a TV licence, you can be eligible for a ‘summer discount’ which is a refund for the summer months of £37. Contact TV licensing on 0300 790 6113 for details of any discounts or questions you may have regarding a TV licence.

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