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 (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 only use a TV screen for watching DVDs and gaming, but not to watch television programmes
    • 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 TV 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
and the more detailed TV Licensing FAQs.

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 if 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. This doesn’t just mean live coverage of events, but any broadcast while it is happening.

If you only watch online catch-up 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 full month 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 a quarter of your annual TV License.

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.