How to get a TV licence refund
Leaving your student accommodation for the summer but still have a few months left on your TV licence? You could be due a refund!Spending the summer months back home is something that most students really look forward to, but how annoying is it if you know there's a fully licensed TV sitting in your student accommodation that nobody's watching?
If you've paid your annual licence of £147 in a lump sum, this can end up being the case.
The good news is, you can actually apply for a student discount on the licence that takes these summer months into account, and if you've already forked out the full amount for the year… time for a refund!
Applying for a refund
Credit: Ben Husmann – flickr
It's surprising how many students don't take advantage of the fact that these refunds are available – we suspect because the TV licence company don't exactly shout about it, so it's an easy trick to miss!
Previously, in order to qualify for a student TV licence refund, you had to be able to prove you were leaving your accommodation 3 months or more before the end date of your licence.
This changed as of 1 April 2017 – you can now claim for a monthly refund, meaning you don't have to have 3 months left on the licence in order to qualify. Woohoo!
Monthly discounts work out at roughly £12.25 per month, but TV Licensing have made clear that exactly how much you get back will be decided on a case by case basis.
If you leave your digs straight after exam time, though, you could see quite a big return – move out end of May and your licence is already covered up until September, a four-month discount on your TV licence could see a return of about £49. Not bad!
Plus, if you've realised that you weren't actually liable to pay for the whole year (details here) you could even claim the whole amount back!
You may have to split it a few ways between you and your housemates, but every penny counts – particularly if you don't plan on finding a part-time job over the summer.
Claiming for your refund
In order to qualify for your refund you need the following:
- At least one complete month or more left on your licence or an expiry date within the past 2 years
- Evidence that you'll no longer need it – for example a tenency agreement that shows you're leaving the property before the licence runs out, or something similar (full list of evidence options here)
If you fit this criteria, then you should apply for a refund ASAP!
When do I need a TV licence?
Credit: James Royal-Lawson – Flickr
You need a TV licence if you watch programmes live from any source (this includes TVs, laptops, tablets and desktop computers).
Previously, you didn't need a licence if you only watched programmes on catch-up services like BBC iPlayer (as long as you watched them at least an hour after they've been broadcast).
But as of September 2016, you have to have a TV licence to watch iPlayer as well. But all is not lost! There's a small but crucial loophole that means majority of students still don't have to pay to watch iPlayer – read more here!
What will happen if I don't pay my TV licence?
If you watch live TV in any form without paying your licence, you're breaking the TV licensing rules, and therefore the law.
Try to sneak by without paying and you could very easily end up in court facing a fine of up to £1,000. Ouch!
Student halls may be covered for their TV licence in the communal areas, but not in each individual dorm room. Make sure you check with your university to avoid any confusion.