Do you really need to be paying for a TV licence?

Do you really need to be paying for a TV licence?

Remember you only need a TV licence if you watch LIVE TV THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING BROADCAST (includes live TV streaming from computers, mobile phones and other devices).

At the moment if you only use catch up services (like BBC iPlayer etc) & on demand services like YouTube, Netflix etc then you don’t need one.
Start the refund process now! More info on

Only TV content that is being broadcast at the same time as you're watching requires a licence.

Only TV content that is being broadcast at the same time as you’re watching requires a licence.

I only live somewhere part of the year (mostly for students) do I need one? and for how long?

Wherever you live if you ever watch live TV as it’s being broadcast you will need a licence however if you move back home from Uni to parents house over summer remember to always claim your TV licence refund, it should be roughly £36.
It will depend on your accommodation if you need to buy your own TV licence, speak with your landlord or university accommodation office.

I don’t watch BBC do I need to pay?

Afraid so, it doesn’t matter what channel you’re watching.


A simple rule, if the item you’re watching is within the TV guide and you’re watching it at the same time then you need a licence

I only record live TV, I then watch it back later, technically after it has been broadcasted. Do I need a licence?

Yes, nice try but because the recording was of the original live broadcast you need one.

What happens if I’m telling a little lie and occasionally watch live TV but don’t have a licence?

Well you’re breaking the law. In 2012-13 200,000 people were prosecuted for not having a TV licence and 50 of those ended up in prison [source]


Will they ever check?

Yes, if they believe you’re watching live TV and don’t have a licence it’s someones job to come and find out. They may turn up at your door however they can’t enter your house without your permission, unless they have applied for a search warrant.

Supposedly they use high quality surveillance tools to find out if you’re breaking the law or not.

I rent my house do I need to pay or the landlord?

Speak to your landlord they may already pay it however if not then yes it would be your responsibility to pay it. If you rent a room from someone then it would generally be the home owners who buy it, as long as you live in the same house.


I’ve got a TV that can accept live TV but I don’t watch it? Do I need a licence?

It’s a common misconception, if you’ve got a TV that you could watch live TV on but you don’t then you don’t actually need a licence.
It’s ONLY if you actually use that device to watch live TV.


Do you think the fee should be optional?


I pay for Sky, Virgin, BT or TalkTalk TV do I need a licence?

Yes afraid so.


I watch Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vimeo, YouTube, Blinkbox, iTunes,, CinemaNow, Google Play or Xbox Video etc do I need one?

No, as long as the content is not being broadcast at the same time on live TV you do not need a licence.


I only watch foreign TV, do I need one?

Afraid so, ANY live TV that is being broadcast regardless of language or original country of origin.

I don’t need one, should I just cancel it for a refund?

The short answer is yes however remember that money you pay each year isn’t for a big jolly for some big CEO. It pays for some quite awesome programmes, none of which have any adverts. If you love watching adverts then awesome stop paying but lots of you will think it’s worthwhile however we will let you be the judge of that as I’m sure we would all prefer £145.50 in our pockets

I'm sure we would all prefer £145 in our pockets but remember that money is used (mostly) for good

I’m sure we would all would prefer £145.45 in our pockets but remember that money is used (mostly) for good TV programmes. In our opinion.


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Important things to remember with everything we post:

  • If you earn over your personal allowance (currently £12,570 a year) HMRC need to get their % cut (even if the money is in cash or from another country)
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  • You need to always ensure whatever you’re doing is legal and not hurting anyone else – be careful and always think twice
  • Some income streams may require you to have DBS check, licence, insurance or qualifications before you can start to profit from it, do your research.
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