33,000 young people caught without TV Licence, but here’s how to avoid paying
This year alone thousands of students have been caught red-handed without a TV licence, but there's a way to avoid paying the annual fee altogether.
According to TV Licensing, in the past year more than 33,000 people between the ages of 18 and 25 have been caught watching live TV or BBC iPlayer without a license. However, there are ways to avoid paying some or all of the licence cost!
As 78% of undergraduates are aged 24 and under, TV Licensing is eager to remind new students that they could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1000 if they watch live television on any device without a license.
BBC iPlayer is the most popular catch-up service among students, with 82% of UK students using the service.
The recent survey also revealed that 50% of students would find it embarrassing to be caught without a TV Licence. But if you take advantage of the licence loophole, you can avoid that embarrassment!
What is the law on TV Licences?
Legally, if students live in halls of residence they will need a TV Licence to watch live television in their rooms.
If you live in a shared house and the inhabitants are on a separate tenancy agreement, everyone who wants to watch live tele will need their own TV Licence. Shared houses with joint tenancy agreements only require one licence between everyone.
Since the law changed in 2016, the BBC also announced that you'd need a licence to watch anything on iPlayer.
Currently, an annual TV Licence costs £147, having risen from £145.50 in April this year.
TV Licensing states that anyone who is concerned about affording a TV Licence should get in touch with them to discuss the different payment options on offer, including paying in monthly instalments.
How to avoid paying for a TV Licence
The licence loophole stirred up quite a lot of excitement earlier this year. After a Loughborough student collected 18,000 signatures on a petition to exempt students from paying for iPlayer, we showed you how you could get around ever paying for a licence anyway.
TV Licensing’s website says:
In limited circumstances, students can be covered by the licence at their parents’ address.
The device must be powered by its own internal batteries – e.g. a tablet or mobile phone – and must not be plugged it into the mains when receiving television. This use is enabled by the Regulations governing TV Licensing.
Essentially, as long as you tick the following boxes, you can get away with watching live TV or iPlayer and not paying for licence:
- Your parents have a valid TV licence
- Their house is your registered primary address (when you are not in your temporary uni accommodation)
- You watch iPlayer or live TV on mobile devices that can function without being plugged in to the power mains while you watch.
How to get a refund on your TV Licence
Previously, you could only apply for a refund if you proved you were leaving your accommodation three or more months before the end date of your TV Licence. As of 1st April 2017, you can now claim for a monthly refund on any unused months on your licence when you move out. Bring on the holidays!
Providing there is at least one full month left on their licence, students can claim back about £12 per month. TV Licensing say that refunds will be calculated on a case-by-case basis.
What's more, if you've been paying for a TV Licence but never actually needed one (i.e. you came under the loophole), you can get a refund for that too!
There are several ways to claim your refund. If you paid for your licence in instalments by direct debit, call TV Licensing on 0300 790 6113, explain your situation, and they will take you through the process and issue you some money back.
If you paid in one lump sum, you can simply fill in and send off a refund application form.
You can find further details and advice about the TV Licence loophole here.