TV Licences, Council Tax and Insurance

TV Licences

Whether or not you need to have a TV licence depends on the type of accommodation that you live in. There are some basic rules:-

  • If you have your own individual tenancy agreement for a room in halls or for a room in a shared house and you use a TV in your room, you will need your own TV licence;
  • If you have individual tenancy agreements in a shared house BUT you only have one TV set which is being used in a communal area, then only one licence is required;
  • If you have a flat or a bedsit and your own tenancy agreement, you will need your own TV licence;
  • If you live in a shared house and have a joint tenancy, one TV licence for the whole household will be enough and will cover all the sets in the house;

You must remember that you need a TV licence to watch or record TV programmes, irrespective of what device you are using and how you receive them. So, you still need a licence if you are using a computer, laptop or mobile phone for example to receive pictures. Equally, receive them by cable, satellite, terrestrial, internet or any other way and you need that licence!


TV Licence Law Change

As of September 1st a change in the law means you now need to be covered by a TV licence to download or watch BBC programmes on demand – including catch up TV - on BBC iPlayer. This applies to all devices including a smart TV, desktop computer or lap top, mobile phone, tablet, digital box or games console. Even if you access BBC iPlayer through another provider, such as Sky, Virgin Media, Freeview, or BT, you must have a TV licence. If you get caught without a TV licence you could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1000 plus the cost of the licence and court costs.

For more information go to and download Council Tax & TV Licences.doc.


Moving out?

If you are moving out of halls or other student accommodation, your licence does not automatically go with you; you need to notify TV Licensing of your new address for this to happen. You can update your details by visiting and following the instructions.


Leaving Uni for the summer?

If you are not staying at university over the summer and therefore don't need your TV licence again before it expires, you are entitled to a refund of any unused quarters which means three full calendar months. So, as long as you buy your licence in October and don't need it for the whole of July, August and September, you could be eligible for a refund.

Remember: The fine for not having a licence when you are using television receiving equipment is up to £1,000, plus court costs and the price of a licence too!

TV Licensing General Enquiries - 0300 790 6090

Current costs (frozen until 2016) are £145.50 for a colour TV and £49.00 for a black and white one. 


Council Tax

Council Tax is collected and administered by local councils who also administer all the discount schemes and council tax benefits.

Council Tax is a tax on properties, not individuals, so some students find themselves liable for a share of the Council Tax for their accommodation.
The University sends a list of all full time registered students to the council, so you shouldn't get a bill, but sometimes mistakes happen. You might have to prove to the council that you are all full time students and that you don't have to pay - to do this you all need to do is download your exemption certificates from your MyUWE. When you've collected them all together, send them to the Council Tax department of Bristol City / South Gloucestershire Council.

Students living in UWE managed Halls Of Residence are automatically exempt from Council Tax.

If you are a full time student living with non students, then you are NOT liable for Council Tax. The Council Tax dept therefore will only pursue the non student/s for payment and not you.

As a final year student you cease to become exempt from council tax on the last day of the assessment period in the last term of study. (In 2016/17 this was 20th May 2017).

If you're not sure where you stand with regards to Council Tax and your liability, contact the Advice Centre.



There are a lot of insurance companies so it is always worth shopping around to find the deal that best suits your needs. If you have a bike, lap top, drum kit, etc then make sure you read the small print to ensure your treasued possessions are covered on your policy!

It can sometimes be cheaper for you to be added on to your parents' insurance so bear this in mind when looking for quotes.

A handy tip to keep all but the most persistent burglar at bay is to leave a light or a radio on in the house if you leave the place unattended. It might not work every time but it'll certainly make them think twice - which can't be a bad thing.

Try to be as security conscious as possible by ensuring all windows and doors are closed and locked when your house is empty and don't 'invite burglars in' by displaying expensive items such as laptops, computers, televisions and audio equipment. If you have a lock on your bedroom door, always use it when you are not in the property.

Your tenancy agreement will probably also contain clauses regarding safety and security of the property so it is important to adhere to these. If you feel a lock or window isn't as secure as it could be then contact your landlord/agency.

To help keep your home safe from burglars check out the Beat the Burglar guide.The guide is full of visual tips and advice from the MET Police and reformed burglar, Michael Fraser.