Who should pay for the TV licence?

September 14, 2012

Landlord Information

This is one of those periodic questions that arise when landlords are talking to each other.

Unfortunately, it is also periodically a problem in terms of the relationship between landlords and tenants.

In what follows, it is worth remembering that some particular combinations of circumstances may be complicated and make it difficult to distinguish exact responsibilities.  It is important to form a view relating to your own unique circumstances and discuss this with your local licensing authorities if you have any questions.

Tenants provide their own TV

As a general rule, in these circumstances it will be the tenants’ responsibility to purchase and keep up to date their TV licence.

For the avoidance of doubt, it might be advisable to state this clearly and explicitly in your tenancy agreement.

Remember to consult your landlord insurance UK cover provisions, to check whether there are any specific requirements relating to tenants bringing their own major electrical items into your property.

Landlord provides television

This is where things start to become complicated and where you may need to look carefully at the specific rules relating to your situation.

As a general principle, if you provide the television set it is your property being used in your property.  That may, in most circumstances, move the legal responsibility for the provision of a television licence to you and away from your tenants.

You could, in theory, include an obligation in the tenancy agreement for them to take out their own TV licence covering the set.  The legalities of this though may be complicated and difficult to prove one way or another, should the worst happen.

In the circumstances where you are providing the TV set, it might be more prudent and straightforward if you accept your responsibility to also furnish the licence.  The cost of a TV licence, whilst high, is not exactly prohibitive and it should be possible to recover it as part of your rental income.

Multi tenanted property

The position here starts to become potentially even more complicated.

The good news is that if you provide multiple televisions within the one property, where you only have one rental agreement for a group of tenants sharing, you may only need to purchase the one TV licence.

By contrast, if you have multiple tenancy agreements with individual tenants in the same property and you provide a TV in each, then each TV may need a separate TV licence.


Some landlords believe the easiest way to overcome these complexities and risks is simply not to provide a television.  That might be understandable.

If you are providing a television or televisions though, it might be easier to assume that you will need to build the cost of this in to your responsibility costs rather than assume that it can somehow be delegated to tenants.




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