Tenants' Link
Stock image of someone watching television

Do you need a TV licence?

The way we watch television has changed forever and it can be confusing to know if you still need to buy a TV licence.

The days of sitting in front of the box with only four channels to choose from are long gone. The convenience of streaming and download services like Netflix means that nowadays we can watch what we want, when and where, on a wide range of devices. The way we watch television has changed forever and it can be confusing to know if you still need to buy a TV licence. Follow our guide below and make sure you’re not caught without a licence if you need one.

You need to buy a TV licence if you:

  • Watch or record programmes as they're being shown in the UK (regardless of whether you watch on a television, computer, tablet, games console, smartphone or any other device)
  • Use BBC iPlayer to catch up on BBC programmes
  • Record 'live TV' programmes using a digital recorder like Sky+

A colour licence costs £154.50 a year and you can spread the payments

You don't need to buy a TV licence if you:

  • Only watch content after it has been shown on television (unless it's on BBC iPlayer). So if you don't use BBC iPlayer and only download or stream shows after broadcast, you are fine without a licence

How many TV licences do I need?

Your TV licence covers your household, no matter how many TVs or devices you have, and also covers you when you're out and about viewing on a mobile device.

What happens if I don't buy a licence?

Watching 'live TV' without a licence is against the law and carries a fine of up to £1,000.

Can I get a free or reduced TV licence?

If you or someone you live with is blind or severely sight impaired you'll get 50% off the cost of a TV licence.

Previously anyone over 75 received a free TV licence but from 1 June 2020 only over 75s who receive Pension Credit will be eligible.

If you live in a supported housing complex where staff are on site delivering more than 30 hours of support a week you may be eligible for a concessionary TV licence that costs just £7.50 a year. Eligibility for this reduced TV licence varies depending on where you live, so please talk to your Housing Support Worker to find out if you qualify.

For more details about TV licensing, to check if you need to buy one and for details of how to pay, look online.

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