Cost of TV Licence set to increase – 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.
The cost of a colour TV Licence is set to rise for the second year in a row, increasing to £150.50 per year.
The change comes into effect as of 1st April this year, and represents a £3.50 rise from its current cost of £147. 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 £49.50 to £50.50.
However, thousands of people could legally get out of paying the increased rate if they know what to do.
Around 300,000 people’s licences expire on 31 March, but if you renew your licence for another year before that date, you'll pay the current price rather than the increased one for the next 12 months.
TV Licensing spokesperson, Jason Hill, said:
We know people are always looking for ways to make their money go further, which is why we are reminding people to renew their TV Licence before the end of the month.
But don't go renewing just yet – you might not even need to pay for one at all!
How to avoid paying completely
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!
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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!
Yes. As long as their parents have a valid TV Licence. You can call 0300 790 6113 to check if this exemption applies to you.
— TV Licensing (@tvlicensing) August 31, 2016
What about a TV Licence discount?
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 can apply for a license which lasts three years and costs absolutely nothing, and those who are registered blind can get 50% off their license.
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 £37 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?
With all the ways to watch TV nowadays, is a licence even worth it?
- Cheapest ways to legally watch films and TV online
- Get a free six month trial of Amazon Prime Student, including video streaming!
Well, if you can accept only using the following services (there are quite a lot) then consider actively avoiding the need to get a license:
- On demand, including catch-up TV and on demand previews through services like All4, ITV Hub and My5
- On demand films from providers like Sky, Virgin Media, Netflix, and Amazon Instant 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 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!