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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

TV licences: the rules for students

If you’re living away from home, in halls of residence or in a shared house, then you’ll probably need a television licence. Students planning to return home over the summer may be able to claim a refund for those three months.

Who needs a TV licence

You can get a refund if you're going home for the summer

College or university students living away from home must have a TV licence to watch or record programmes at the same time as they are shown on TV.

As well as TV sets and video or DVD recorders, this includes using mobile phones, set-top boxes, laptops or personal computers to receive or record television programmes.

This means that if you are watching or recording programmes via the BBC iPlayer at the same time as they are shown on TV, you need to be covered by a TV licence. If you are only watching or downloading programmes that have already been broadcast using the iPlayer or other internet 'catch-up' services, you don’t need a licence.

If you are returning home for the summer holidays and only need a licence for nine months, you may also qualify for a refund on the remaining three.

You can get more information from the students' section of the TV Licensing website.

What you need to do

Exactly what you need to do about getting a TV licence depends on where you live:

Halls of residence

If you live in halls of residence and watch or record TV in your room, you will need your own TV licence.

Shared houses

If you have a shared tenancy agreement, with everyone in your house signing the same contract, you will usually need just one licence to cover all the television viewing that you do in the house.

If you have a separate tenancy agreement, with each tenant signing an individual contract with the landlord, each of you will need your own licence to use a set in your rooms. Only one licence is needed if the only TV being used is in a communal area.

If you’re not sure, contact TV Licensing on 0300 790 6090.

How to buy a licence

You can buy or renew a TV licence online with a credit or debit card by visiting the TV Licensing website. It also has information on other ways to pay.

These include paying by post, by direct debit, via a savings card or over the counter at a PayPoint outlet. A colour licence costs £145.50.

What happens if you're caught without a licence

If you watch TV without a licence you are breaking the law and risk prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. Enforcement officers visit unlicensed rooms on university and college campuses, as well as student accommodation off-campus.

How to claim a refund

You could qualify for a refund of around £36 if:

  • you’re returning home for the summer holidays where your licence won’t be needed
  • your licence is valid at least until the end of October

For more information on how to claim, contact TV Licensing on 0300 790 6090 or visit its website.

TV licence concessions

If you or someone you live with is registered blind, you'll qualify for a 50 per cent reduction on the cost of your TV licence.

For more information, follow the links below or call TV Licensing on 0300 790 6090.

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