TV Licensing

  • You need to be covered by a TV Licence if…
    • You watch or record TV through a TV set
    • OR you watch live TV online
    • OR you watch BBC iPlayer online (new rule since September 2016)
    • AND you have a separate tenancy agreement / contract from other people at your accommodation
  • You do not need to be covered by a TV Licence if…
    • you have no TV, or if you have a TV, you only use it for watching DVDs and gaming
    • AND you don’t watch live TV online.
    • AND you don’t watch BBC iPlayer programmes online.
    • Catch-up TV online, except for iPlayer, does not require a licence.
  • You can get a refund for every three months of time left on your licence when you move out.

When do you need a TV Licence?

You need to be covered by a TV Licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.

This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.

This applies whether you live in halls of residence or a private shared house.

Anyone found without a valid TV Licence who watches or records television programmes on any channel risks prosecution and a fine.

For more information, see

Am I covered by my parents’ licence?

In most cases, no. To check this, visit the student section of the TV Licensing website.

What if I live in halls of residence?

If you live in halls of residence and use a TV in your own room, you need your own separate TV Licence. You will not be covered by any halls of residence licence unless you only watch TV in a communal area.

Do I need my own licence if I live in shared accommodation?

This depends on the type of tenancy agreement you have signed.

  • If you and your housemates have a joint tenancy agreement, then the house only needs one shared TV licence.
  • If you and your housemates have signed separate tenancy agreements, then each person who has a TV in their room needs a separate TV Licence. However, if there is only one TV in a communal area, then only one TV Licence is required.

What about laptops / internet TV?

If you watch TV programmes on a computer as they are being broadcast (i.e. live), you need a licence. If you only watch online TV after the broadcast has finished, you don’t need one, except for BBC iPlayer. Check the Students web page on the TV Licensing website for more information.

Top Tip: Here are some handy catch-up TV services you can use legally without a TV Licence, so long as you don’t watch the shows live as they’re being broadcast:

  • Box of Broadcasts – through BoB, University of South Wales students can record and view TV and radio online from over 60 free-to-air channels including 13 foreign language channels, and including BBC TV content. If you know in advance that you want to watch a show, you can request BoB to record it for you, and watch it after it has been broadcast.
  • 4oD Channel 4 on Demand
  • itv Player

How much does a TV Licence cost?

For information on how much a licence costs, visit the TV Licensing website.

How do I purchase a TV Licence?

There are a number of ways you can pay for your TV Licence. Full details on the payment methods available to you can be found on the TV Licensing site.

Can I get a refund for the unused months?

You can request a refund for every three months left on your licence. For example, if you move out of your term accommodation with 3 months left on the licence, you can request a refund for that amount.

This means you can be refunded for three, six or nine months. Check the TV Licensing website if you think you may be eligible for a refund.

What if I still have questions?

If you still have questions please visit the TV Licensing website.

Use the Check if you need one – for students webpage to find out more.