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Student News

Cost of TV Licence increases again – but here’s how to avoid paying

The prices are rising, but we've got a whole host of ways to dodge the hike – and even avoid paying altogether. 

avoid paying for tv licence

The cost of a colour TV Licence is set to rise yet again, increasing to £159 per year.

The change comes into effect as of 1st April this year, and represents a £1.50 rise from its former cost of £157.50. If you're retro enough to have a black and white licence, there's a price rise for you too – though admittedly it's still pretty cheap, up from £53 to £53.50.

However, thousands of people could legally get out of paying the increased rate if they know what to do.

So don't go renewing just yet – you might not even need to pay for one at all!

How to avoid paying completely

tv licence loophole hack

Credit: Warner Bros

Here at Save the Student, we love finding ways to save a penny or two! So, naturally, we have all the facts on how to save money on your TV Licence, and even avoid paying altogether.

According to the law, with the exception of BBC iPlayer, you don't need a TV Licence if you never watch or record live television, and only watch catch-up.

There are actually relatively few people who fall into this bracket: fewer than 2% of households, according to TV Licensing.

But if you do watch live TV or iPlayer, don't worry – there's one loophole that could help you avoid paying altogether!

Back in 2016 we let you in on a secret: there is a loophole in the law which enables students to watch live TV and iPlayer without a licence.

As long as your parents have a valid TV Licence, and their house is your primary address, you're covered for watching live TV and iPlayer.

For this to be legal, though, you can only watch on a mobile device that can function without being plugged into the mains. If your device needed charging, you would have to stop watching TV while you plugged it in.

We appreciate that this sounds a bit dodgy, which is why when the changes were introduced, we asked TV Licensing to confirm that it was a legit excuse not to pay – and they did!

tv licence exemption loophole

If you're totally confident that nobody in your house is watching content that needs a licence, you can complete a declaration form. Just make sure you know all the facts first!

What about a TV Licence discount?

tv licence discount

Credit: 20th Century Fox

As long as one person at the address is eligible for a discount, and the licence is in their name, the whole house can benefit from it. So who can get one?

Well, over-75s who are receiving Pension Credit can apply for a licence that costs absolutely nothing, and those who are registered blind can get 50% off their licence.

There's no explicit discount for students, but you’ll be glad to know that you can still get some money off.

TV Licensing has said in the past that students might be able to apply for a refund for the summer months, taking around £40 off the full price.

But again, make sure you understand the laws! If you’re renting, you don't need a separate licence for each room as long as you have a relationship with the homeowner and live in the main house, or you have a joint tenancy agreement.

Unfortunately, if you have a separate tenancy agreement for just your room, you will need a TV Licence.

Is a TV Licence worth it?

is a tv licence worth it

With all the ways to watch TV nowadays, is a licence even worth it?

Well, if you can accept only using the following services (there are quite a lot) then consider actively avoiding the need to get a licence:

  • On-demand, including catch-up TV and on-demand previews through services like All4, ITV Hub and My5
  • On-demand films and TV from providers like Sky, Virgin MediaNetflix, NOW, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video
  • Recorded films and programmes, either from a DVD or Blu-ray, or downloaded from the internet
  • On-demand internet video clips through services like YouTube.

If you're already using any of these services, check out our guide to cheap streaming – it includes loads of ways to save on the most popular sites!

If you decide not to get a licence, remember that you need to remain compliant throughout the year. Otherwise, you could face a fine of up to £1,000 plus any legal costs or compensation!

Avoiding a TV Licence is just one of the tips on our huge list of ways to save money on renting!

Lucy Skoulding

WRITTEN BY Lucy Skoulding

Lucy Skoulding specialised in student news reporting while writing for Save the Student, sharing the latest data and top stories affecting our readers.
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