Figures released today by TV Licensing reveal more than 25,000 adults under the age of 25 were caught watching live TV without a TV Licence in the past year.
With 80% of first-year students being under the age of 25, and with 99% of students owning a device capable of streaming live TV, it’s important undergraduates and postgraduates alike understand the law so they can watch TV safe in the knowledge they are doing so legally. We caught up with experts at TV Licensing to find out more about why you need a TV Licence.
“With nearly all students owning at least one device capable of showing live TV - such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet computer - they should know the law around being correctly licensed. If you’re watching live TV on any device, including mobiles and tablets, you need a TV Licence,” says Stephen Farmer, spokesperson for TV Licensing.
“Whether they are in shared accommodation or halls, students have to abide by the law which means being covered by a current TV Licence if they’re watching live television.”
Students and young adults need to be aware of their legal responsibilities. Anyone caught watching TV without a TV Licence can face prosecution and a fine of up to a £1,000.
Stephen added: “If students are worried about paying for a TV Licence, they should get in touch. We know some people struggle to pay, and there are many payment options available, from paying in one go to spreading the cost over the year.”
TV Licensing makes every effort to ensure students know about its licensing requirements and regularly supplies informative literature and posters to universities and colleges up and down the country. Any student who is in any doubt about whether or not they need a licence should call 0300 790 6090, or visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk/students
So will you need a TV Licence? These are some of the most frequently asked questions:
I’m living in halls, so do I need a TV Licence?
Yes. Your hall probably has a licence covering TVs in communal areas, but this won't cover a TV in your room. So, if you're planning to watch TV in your room, make sure you're covered by a valid licence. You can buy a TV Licence online.
I’m living in a shared house, do I need one?
If you live in a shared house and if there’s a joint tenancy agreement for the whole house, you may only need one licence, but if you have a separate tenancy agreement, you may need your own licence.
Do I need a licence if I haven't got a TV and I watch telly on my laptop or tablet?
Yes. It doesn't make any difference how you watch TV. If you use any device (such as a laptop, PC or mobile phone) to watch television programmes as they're being shown on TV, the law requires you to have a TV Licence.
So when don’t I need a TV Licence?
If you don’t watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV (or on any device capable of showing live TV programmes) or you only stream TV programmes online after they’ve been broadcast through on-demand services like YouTube, BBC iPlayer and 4oD, you don’t need to be covered by a TV Licence.
Does my parents' TV Licence cover me while I'm away at university?
Not unless ALL of the following applies:-
1. Your out-of-term address is covered by a TV Licence
2. AND you only use TV receiving equipment that is powered solely by its own internal batteries
3. AND you have not connected it to an aerial or plugged it into the mains.