Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast television programmes then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

TV Licensing Rights of Access

TV Licensing employees do not have any legal automatic right of access to any property.

From previous posts you'll be aware that a television licence is only required when television equipment is used to receive or record television signals as they are broadcast to the wider public.

If you don't use equipment as described above then you don't require a television licence.

Unlicensed properties are flagged by TV Licensing's database and will be subject to further investigation. This usually involves sending regular licence reminder letters (referred to as "threatograms") to the property, which are eventually followed up by a visit by one of TV Licensing's doorstep salespeople. TV Licensing refer to their salespeople as "visiting officers", but members of the legally-licence-free community generally refer to them as "goons".

Even if the legal occupier has replied saying they have no television receiving equipment TV Licensing will attempt visit the property to confirm that is the case.

For this reason an increasing number of people who don't require a licence are making a stand against TV Licensing on a point of principle.

The law:
Unless the goon has a search warrant for your property you do not have to let them in. Without that warrant they have no more rights of access than anyone else visiting - in fact you can even withdraw their implied right of access by writing to TV Licensing (see later).

Goons, who earn commission on every licence they sell, are notoriously economical with the truth and may try to con their way into your home using legal jargon or threats. Unless they have that search warrant it's all bluff and, for reasons that will become apparent below, they're very unlikely have a warrant if it's their first visit.

Search warrants:
A search warrant is a legal document signed by a Magistrate (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or a Sheriff (Scotland). There is no standard prescribed format for the warrant but it must include the address of the property and the reason for the search. The warrant must be executed within one calendar month (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 28 days (Scotland) of the date of issue.

TV Licensing can only obtain a warrant by making representations to a Magistrate, under oath, that they have reasonable suspicion (e.g. some evidence) that television receiving equipment is being used illegally within a property. There is an onus on the Magistrate to only issue a warrant when the evidence justifies it. In theory the Magistrate should refuse to authorise the search if the evidence is too weak. In practice, as experience shows, Magistrates often take TV Licensing's word as sacrosanct and grant warrant applications made on the basis of questionable evidence.

In practical terms there are only two forms of evidence that TV Licensing can offer when requesting a search warrant:
  • That the legal occupant has admitted that they are using television receiving equipment without a licence.
  • That a goon has observed or heard television receiving equipment being used in an unlicensed property.
Some people have voiced concerns that TV Licensing don't tell the whole truth when applying for warrants. There's a train of thought that they sometimes exaggerate their evidence to secure a search warrant. This is supported by the fact that they have searched properties and found no evidence whatsoever of television receiving equipment.

The following are not usually considered sufficient grounds for the issue of a search warrant:
  • The fact that the property is unlicensed.
  • Ownership a television.
  • Non co-operation with TV Licensing.
  • The presence of a television aerial or satellite dish on the exterior of the property.
If a goon turns up with a search warrant then it is an offence to refuse them access. We are aware of two recent cases where the occupiers, who had previously been listening to "Freeman of the Land" mumbo jumbo, thought they were immune from prosecution if they refused to consent to a search warrant execution. Both of those occupiers were subsequently convicted of search warrant obstruction.

The warrant will allow them to search for and inspect television receiving equipment - it does not give them carte blanche to search through personal documentation or anything like that.

In theory the warrant permits TV Licensing to force entry to conduct their search if the property is unoccupied or the occupant refuses to answer the door. In practice it is TV Licensing policy not to force entry in these circumstances, but to return later and make further attempts to execute the warrant.

They will usually be accompanied by the police, who are only there to prevent a breach of the peace. However, be aware that search warrants are granted to TV Licensing and there is no legal requirement for the police to be present when they are executed. The police should not provide any assistance to TV Licensing with the actual search.

TV Licensing search warrants are exceptionally rare. Information obtained by the TV Licensing Blog confirms that NO search warrants have been granted at all in Scotland between 1st January 2011 and 21st July 2014 (more info here). If you're legally licence free, as we hope all our readers are, then you should never need to worry about the threat of a search warrant. If TV Licensing ever do turn up with a warrant then you are well within your rights to film them and we strongly recommend you do.

Implied rights of access:
There is an implied right of access for certain visitors to your property. For example, having a letterbox means that you accept people will deliver things and the presence of a door bell indicates you're open to callers.

You can withdraw TV Licensing's implied right of access by writing to them and saying so. If they ignore your request they'd be trespassing on your property and liable to civil prosecution and negative publicity.

The BBC has previously indicated that TV Licensing will comply with any Withdrawal of Implied Rights of Access (WOIRA), but we are aware that TV Licensing often ignore WOIRA instructions and single out those properties for special attention.

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Anonymous said...

Excellent and thanks for this post.

Bob said...

"The warrant must be executed within one month of the date of issue."

And can only be used for a single search.

If they want to search again, they have to obtain a new warrant.

Unknown said...

Just had a TV license inspector round. he asked if i had any equipment for which i replied well i have a computer, meaning laptop which i do not watch anything except youtube perhaps sometimes. he then ask for access which i replied no, he asked again are you denying me legal access. i just got up from bed and was in a state of undress getting ready to have a shower. i told him politely to please leave and he repeated himself again which i retorted leave the property. he just stood their looked at me and i closed the door on him at which he left. all the evidence their is is a TV signal mast which i only use for dect radio reception as reception is so bad in my area. any ideas to get rid of him again if he obtains a warrent

admin said...

He does not have any evidence to obtain a warrant. He asked if you had TV equipment and you said you had a laptop, which proves sweet F.A.

A better encounter would go something like this:
Goon: Are you the legal occupier?
You: [Alarm bells ringing] Who are you?
Goon: I'm from TV Licensing.
You: [Slam door closed]

TV Licensing have no legal right whatsoever to demand answers to questions or access to your property.

He won't be back with a warrant, unless he fabricates some bollocks to feed the local tame JP.

Bob said...

unknown said:- "he asked again are you denying me legal access"

What legal access?

Anonymous said...

good info,
i've had several threats for warrants now, little do they know i can't even get a recption here, but i begrudge them being able to come into my home and root through all my stuff to look for evidence of recievers.
wish they'd hurry up and switch over to digital then we can have a choice of their signals being forcefully broadcast into homes and then accused of stealing this signal.

Anonymous said...

Ive just had a goon claim that he has a legal right of access to check for equipment that may be used to receive TV reception.... i think the polite " Darling, get the dog..." persuaded him to go away sharpish, cheek

Anonymous said...

My experience is TVL just kept coming round, so I just tell them now im not obliged to talk to cold callers.

I honestly do not own a TV, if they turn up with a search warrant ill ask the police to arrest them or investigate how they got a warrant when i really dont have a TV therefore there would be no evidence possible for the warrant so they would have to lie.

If i get a TVL arrested ill post all the paperwork will do them good to see the law is the law.

Anonymous said...

I have 2 tvs in my house as there not mine I live in a private rented partly furnished house....I do not watch tv there are no signal recievers in either tv....do av still have to pay license? I have got a lisence at mo but I'm not paying it as I do not use the tvs....I did try to ring and cancel it but they wudnt unrolled i pay outstanding debt.

admin said...

If the TVs (or any other equipment) are not installed or used to watch or record live TV programmes then you DO NOT need a licence.

Just to be on the safe side I would make sure your equipment is disconnected at the mains and aerial (even hide the aerial lead).

Ignore TV Licensing. They're all hot air and no substance. Cancel any Direct Debits or standing orders with them and don't worry. If you take the steps mentioned above then your set-up is perfectly fine without a licence.

DO NOT TRUST TV LICENSING. Their people tell lies in order to sell licences and earn commission. Just ignore them completely, as you are under no legal obligation to cooperate with them at all.

Anonymous said...

Very informative, thanks. I was wondering if you could go one step further and inform TV licensing that they *can* access your property, but only if they agree to pay a fee? £145 per visit sounds reasonable. You could then send them threatening letters if they refuse to pay up. Wonder if it would work?

admin said...

Thanks for your comment.
I suppose you could tell them that, but they'd be unlikely to pay you anything.
A strategy we are aware of, as mentioned on the Licencefree.co.uk blog, is setting out your legal rights in advance. Basically this means telling TV Licensing you will cooperate with them, as long as they agree to your terms.

Remember that no-one is legally obliged to cooperate with TV Licensing at all, so offering conditional cooperation is quite benevolent.

More here: http://licencefree.co.uk/rights-advance.html

Anonymous said...

my daughter is in the process of trying to sell her property, the house is unoccupied, nobody there, but the TV is still on the wall but unplugged. Does she need a TV licence. TVL are beginning to harrass her with letters saying she needs a license. I have just used some of your comments to write to them explaining the position, hope this works. Your comments were very useful.

admin said...

You shouldn't have wasted your time trying to reason with TV Licensing, as they are an inherently unreasonable organisation. Our advice is to always just ignore their hot air, bluster and darn right legal bullshit.

If your daughter is not occupant in the house she can not be using equipment to receive/record live TV programme services there. That is an irrefutable fact. Consequently she does not require a licence and has no reason at all to be concerned about TV Licensing.

Just remember they're all talk and zero substance.

admin said...

I should also add that TV Licensing aren't always candid when it comes to answering enquiries about a person's licensable status. They are in the business of selling TV licence and they're not bothered how many lies they need to tell in order to do that.

As I said, they're all talk and zero substance.

Help please said...

I've recently moved into my new student house, and the occupants before us obviously had recieved multiple letters.

We did watch live tv in July until we realised that the property had no tv licence and after that stopped.

Today we recieved a letter saying that they had a warrant to search the property. Do they have any way to prove that you've watched live tv in the past?

We really can't afford to pay a fine, can barely afford food as it is :/

admin said...

It is implausible that they wrote to you saying they had a search warrant. It is difficult for them to obtain a warrant, so if they'd gone to the trouble of getting one (extremely unlikely) then the first you'd know would be a knock at the door.

I think you have misread the letter.

99.9% of everything TV Licensing say is bluff. They can only get evidence against a person if they foolishly co-operate. That being the case, if you have not had any previous contact with them then they cannot possibly have any evidence against you.

My advice would be to ignore their letters and don't speak to them. Tell everyone else in the house the same thing. If you are not watching live TV now you do not need a licence and have no need to worry.

Please download our book for more info.

Anonymous said...

Question: I am living in student housing where they GAVE us all tvs that are hooked up and working and didn't tell us we need a license, I looked on the school website and to me it sounds like I would need as license if I got my own television, but every student flat has one. I tried to buy a license but it didn't have addresses for individual flat in my building and it looked like I would have to pay for my entire building. Please help, I am extremely confused and just want to watch Downton Abbey once a week. :(

admin said...

Technically speaking if you are renting a room, as it sounds like you are, and plan on watching live TV, as it sounds like you do, then you need your own TV licence.

If you're absolutely desperate to pay for a licence then I suggest you contact them to discuss the problems with your address.

If you watch Downton Abbey on a catch-up service like ITV Player then you DO NOT require a TV licence. In this case I would suggest you unplug your TV and remove the aerial lead.

TV Licensing will sometimes pretend you need a licence even if you take the above steps. It's a lie. Their enthusiasm to make money sometimes skews their interpretation of the law.

Remember that if TV Licensing visit you are under no obligation to let them in. Likewise you are under no legal obligation to respond to their letters or speak to their scummy salesmen.

Anonymous said...

Hi I live alone in a 5 bed student house only 6 weeks alternating as am on placement, the tv licensing person came and knocked on the door and didn't open,
If they come again should I just hide my laptop ? I don't watch tv at all but don't wanna get fined :/
Any info ? Thanx a lot

admin said...

I am going to assume that you're not watching live broadcast TV, therefore don't need a TV licence.

Why hide your laptop?

TV Licensing has no rights of entry, so you should not let them anywhere near the inside of your property.
Next time they knock just ignore them. If you don't need a TV licence, as I am assuming you don't, then you are under no obligation at all to cooperate with TV Licensing.

Ignore them and keep the door closed. Say nothing to them at all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot , I was contemplating buying a license but I don't watch tv at all ... Only own a laptop so why should I buy the license.
What happens though If I don't open the door to them ?

admin said...

If you don't watch TV then YOU SHOULD NOT BUY A LICENCE.

Do not be hoodwinked into buying one, because legally you have no need.

TV Licensing employees, who earn commission on every licence they sell (fair means or foul), are sometimes not that candid on the rules. They really want that £20 bonus, so some of them will say virtually anything to get you to pay up.

If they knock on your door just ignore them and don't answer. If you're caught unawares you can simply say "I have no legal need for a TV licence" and nothing else. Do not enter into further dialogue with them, as they can contort your words.

For much more information please download our free ebook (see tab at top of page) and share it with your friends.

Anonymous said...

Problems thanx
A lot
For your support
A few friends have expressed concerns and will
Be referring them
To here much appreciated

admin said...

Thanks for your comment Marcus, which we are happy to publish.

However, be very clear that we do not condone any sort of "TV licence avoidance" other than by people who have no legal need for a TV licence (e.g. those that do not use equipment to receive TV programme services in their property).

Caroline Farquhar said...

Faced with threatening letters from TV Licensing, promising an impending visit, I am beginning to wonder about our watching habits.
We don't have a TV but watch the BBC iPlayer. Now and then my husband watches Saturday Match of the Day which can only be watched on Live TV, however you can choose to turn it on after the programme has finished and then 'rewind' and watch the earlier programme which is what he does. - Not watching Live - right?
IF the TV licensing people got a warrant to search our address and they looked at our computer it may look as though we have been watching Live TV - what do you think is our legal status?

admin said...

Thanks for your comment Caroline.

Systems that record television programmes and allow you to rewind and watch them (like Sky+ say) DO need to be covered by a valid TV licence. The reason is that they are recording a live TV signal.

If you watch non-live (previously broadcast) programmes on iPlayer, then you do not require a TV licence.

A PC is not considered a TV receiver in the eyes of the law unless it has a TV card installed and is used for the purposes of watching TV programmes. That being the case you are not legally obliged to allow TV Licensing to inspect your PC, search warrant or not.

I really wouldn't worry about search warrants. The overwhelming majority of the time it is a hollow threat, which is designed to scare a person into paying for a TV licence they might not need.

Our advice would be to ignore TV Licensing entirely. You do not have to respond to their letters or cooperate in any way. That's a legal fact.

Anonymous said...

TVL wrote to me quite recently, so I rang them up and told them that there was a WOIRA in force, and that anyone from their organization found on my property will get a smack in the mouth. They agreed not to visit me.

Anonymous said...

The following piece was printed in the Daily Mail several years ago. I copied it for future reference and have posted it on several forums such as this forum.
NB. I am not the author.

Five years ago, in spite of owning two TV sets, my wife and I decided not to watch TV, as we were not prepared to suffer the drivel being sceened or support the grotesque wages paid to some so called 'stars'.
As a result, we were inundated with threatening letters from the TV Licensing Authority, who informed us that we would be dragged through the courts and my name would be plastered over the local newspaper.
After a while I became bored with all these idle threats and wrote to the Licensing Authority and informed them that I was fully aware of the law regarding TV sets and that I could quite lawfully stack hundreds of TV sets from floor to ceiling in every room in my house as long as I didn't use them any of them to watch TV.
I went on to inform them that it was a serious offence to run a brothel at the offices of the TV Licensing Authority and that I intended to report the authority to the police. I added that of course I didn't have a shred of evidence that they were running a brothel at their premises - any more than they had evidence that I was watching TV without a licence.
Furthermore, I warned them that unless I received a written apology, I would pursue the matter in the County Court, where I would be seeking substantial damages for their repeated scurrilous remarks.
I received a written apology and £20 by way of compensation. Perhaps if everybody in receipt of these moronic letters from the TV Licensing Authority were to reply in similar fashion, these threatening letters would stop.

Anonymous said...

Can someone tell me what can I do?
Last year the tv men came i let him in even offer him a cooffe....so stupid, I had a tv I didnot watch i signed the tv license paid 4 instalments and trow the tv away after that icall them told them i trow the tv away the women told me i did not have to pay more. so i stoped paying in January i receive a letter to go to court, i was out of the country so i misssed but wrote to them explaining what happened. i was fined 500 pounds that i dont ha/ve and thrufully dont wanto give to a mainstream media that'lies to me, they treatening me with a prison sentence so i would like to ask someone how many weeks can be the sentence because it goes against my principles to pay for something i dont have, dont want, dont beleive, i prefer to do a prison sentence than pay.
Can someone help me

Anonymous said...

Admin - the URL that Marcus gives is a Porn site. Delete it please.

admin said...

Thanks for the heads up Anon. That link, several months ago, did actually lead to a legitimate anti-TV licence blog similar to this one. I guess someone has taken the domain for unscrupulous reasons.

danthelambboy said...

It is a matter of wording if you allowed him access his access would be legal as it is therefore no longer trespassing. The wording is there to imply that his access is legal regardless of your acceptance and your refusal is going against the law which is not the case.

When mine came round I did not confirm I was the legal occupier I told him no t.v has been streamed in this property and a t.v license is not required, told him he is not coming in cus I don't know what he will do inside the house. I said it is like me saying you have knives in the kitchen so therefore you murdered someone and I want to come round and check. The ability to law break doesn't make me a law breaker. He then walked off saying the next visit will be with an officer with warrant which is were he really fucked up!
Saying he will get a warrant implies that he has evidence which he doesn't as i'm legal so it is saying he will make false claims in court about me not to mention I did not confirm I was the occupier.
So I will make a police report saying that he is going to make false claims then make a complaint to t.v license about him and tell them how rude it was that they where two weeks late on there visit :)

Anonymous said...

I read on the BBC TV licence site that a PC with a viewing card is classed as TV receiving equipment but without a card it is not, but how do they know no card is fitted unless they search your PC?

admin said...

They don't have any way of knowing whether a PC has a TV card or not. Under ordinary circumstances they have no way of finding out either.

Technically speaking it is the using of the PC to receive TV programmes that is licensable. The mere presence of a TV card (or internet connection) is not proof of TV usage by itself.

Please have a read of our ebook for further information.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I made myself clear, what I'm asking/unsure of, does this mean that if a search warrant was obtained, does this mean they can search your PC?

The BBC site does not make this clear, as I expect is their aim, at one point they say a PC is not TV viewing equipment so implying it can't be search but also says it is if fitted with a TV card, this answer was given in their Q&A when the question was asked "what happens when a warrant is used"

I just want to know if I'm within my rights to refuse a search of my PC and mobile phone if ever a search warrant was used.

admin said...

No, the warrant does not allow them to test your PC or phone. These are not considered as items of TV receiving equipment. What would testing your phone prove anyway? Any use could easily be explained away by saying you were sat in a correctly licensed friend's property.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clearing that up for me.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm completely stupid and I was so surprised to see somebody in the door, that I just let them in.
IN y defense, i arrived to uk no long ago, and I thought it was my flatmate when I opened the door.
They ask me if was living there (no contract, but yes, I stay here), If we had TV (no, we have not) and if we had a living room (No, just a kitchen).
I let him in in the kitchen, while the other men stay outside, he checked ther was no TV, and say, ok, are you living here much longer (no idea, honestly), wrote down another search for a few months ahead, and, as i was freaking out because i've heard thay are basically evil, i asked if there were any trouble. He said, no, you have no Tv, you don't need license.
My question, i had my computer in the kitchen, could they used it as a prove that I'm watching Tv on streamingm even it's a fat lie? Should I trust them if they say it was everyting fine?
And please, sorry for my awful way to write, I'm still learning english
And please, don't be so mean

admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon. Your English is very good, so please don't worry about that.

You have no need for a TV licence. They have seen that you have no TV, so you have no need to worry. It does not matter that you have a PC, as you can use that for many things apart from watching TV.

Please read our free ebook for further advice.

In short, if they call again, do not speak to them and do not let them in.

You are correct that they are evil.

Anonymous said...

I have not needed a tv licence for about six years now, as I broke the co-axial plug off from the television ariel lead. I intened to use the televiion, which is about 20 years old, to watch videos; but is just laying dormant in the bedroom and does not get used because I cannot get any sound on it.

I informed the tv licence authority what I had done to my ariel six years ago and that I no longer needed a licence, but every couple of years I get the tv licence reminder, the latest one was delivered on 21st June 2013.

Anonymous said...


i remember reading somewhere that if you watch iPlayer or any other TV programmes that are streamed after going live on a laptop powered by the mains, you need a TV Licence. is this true?

also, i have a TV but only watch iPlayer etc after live broadcast. i have an aerial lead in my room but it is never connected.
should i cut the aerial?
one idea i had was to wrap the aerial around a wooden beam in my loft, and sellotape a newspaper from the day i did so.

then, if the inspector arrived with a search warrant, i could show them this. the point being that if the aerial was still in the room, they could accuse me of having just unplugged it; if the lead is taped around a beam with a newspaper of a few months ago sealed in with it, it gives the impression that it would take a good 5-10 minutes to get it in that state (so as long as i let the inspector straight in), so the argument that i'd just unplugged it would be futile.

could you let me know what you think?

admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon. I shall try to address each of your points in turn:

1. A TV licence is needed if you receive TV programme services ("live" broadcast TV programmes, which are available to others at the same time). Catch up services, like already shown programmes on the iPlayer, do not require a TV licence. Watching live programmes on iPlayer does require a licence.

2. A licence is needed however you choose to view TV programme services. If you are watching on an unplugged laptop that is powered by its own internal battery then you are covered by the licence of your normal home address (assuming you have a TV licence there).

3. You do not need to damage any of your equipment to make it incapable of receiving TV programmes. Do not cut your aerial lead. The fact it is disconnected means it is not being used to receive licensable content.

4. An "inspector" (more likely to be a privately-employed thug) will not turn up with a search warrant. Search warrants are rarer than hen's teeth. They are something TV Licensing PR harlots like to big up for deterrence, but in reality are very rarely used.

5. You are saying things that make me think you may already know something about how TV Licensing operate. All you need to remember is this key fact: If you don't need a licence, as it sounds like you don't, then you should not co-operate with TV Licensing. Their people are not trustworthy, so don't take the chance of letting them get anywhere near your home.

If you have any other questions please download and read our free ebook.

Anonymous said...

Hi and congratulations on an informative blog! I have just moved into a new flat and received a letter to the 'legal occupier' advising I "have not responded to previous letters and we want to ensure you have the correct information before a hearing is set at your local court", followed by information on "what to expect in court".

Am I right in thinking this is all bluster and fluster? Can I be sure that they have not caught the previous tenant using a TV?

What do you suggest? I have a TV but do not use it except to link it to my PC to watch non-live programmes or DVDs. However, this may change and I may decide to get a license later.

Thanks for any comments.

admin said...

Thanks for your kind comments Anonymous.
TV Licensing "threatograms" are all hot air and no substance. If you're not using TV receiving equipment you can safely disregard everything they say.
Please read our free ebook for further information.

Anonymous said...

I am in the "threatening letter" stage and both me and the misses are fed up declaring every year that we don't need a licence. I think this year we are making a stand and ignoring their threats! Thankyou for a lot of useful information, it's good to know we're not the only ones :)

admin said...

Thanks for dropping by.
Many tens of thousands of people are in exactly the same position as you are, so you're definitely not alone.
If you haven't done so already, please download and share our free ebook.
By spreading the word we're wearing down the BBC and TV Licensing - FACT.

Anonymous said...

Hi i am a business owner and have an industrial manufacturing unit, i have received a few of these letters from TVL and was about to ring them when i saw your site. Thankyou for your very useful information. My Letter is addressed to the Manager and they have an incorrect address (although the post man knows the correct address) as i failed to respond to previous letters they are proceeding with there investigation. the back of the letter says by law we must have a license if anyone watches programmes as there being shown on TV (IT DOES NOT STATE LIVE TV.) on any device i provide including Computers, Laptops, Mobile phones, DVD/VHS recorders, didital boxes and games consoles.
But it does state on the next paragrah that if employees use there own laptop or mobile to watch LIVE tv i have to have a licence unless they are being powered soley by its own internal batteries. i wish i had time to watch TV at work do they think we just sit arround all day with nothing better to do!!!
I have informed all my employes to refuse access to anyone for TVL and if they wish to watch TV NOT to plug them into my mains.

And i will be ignoring any further letters.

Thank you again for all your Useful Advise

admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon. A programme, or rather "television programme service", is defined in the legislation as any television programme, broadcast wirelessly or otherwise, which is available to other viewers at the same or virtually the same time.

That's the lingo... in layman's terms it means anything you can watch on normal telly at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I have an old rear projective TV.

It can only receive analogue signals, which have, of course, ceased.

I use it now for playing DVDs etc.

Is it classed as a monitor now?

admin said...

Yes Anon, as you rightly observe there are no longer any analogue TV signals, so your old analogue set is no longer deemed a television receiver.

Lauren said...

Me and my partner do have a tv but we do not watch/record live tv. We use it to play the XBox. Do we still need a license?

admin said...

No, you only need a licence if you watch TV programmes as they're broadcast.

You do not need a licence if you only use an XBox. I recommend you disconnect any external aerial to make sure your equipment can't receive TV programmes.

As someone who doesn't need a licence you are under no legal obligation to communicate or co-operate with TV Licensing, but they will inevitably hassle you about your licence-free status.

Please read our free ebook (tab at top of page) for advice on how to handle them.

Anonymous said...

Had a goon come round this evening. He asked for a phone number and last name. why would he need this information? i didn't let him in. he left after I gave him semi-correct details. Thanks in advance for your help.

admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon. You are not obliged to give TV Licensing any information at all. He was fishing and it sounds like you nibbled at the bait. The only reason they want information is so that the next time they try to harass you they can do so by name, which gives them a psychological upper-hand.

In future we would recommend saying nothing and closing the door on any TV Licensing goon that visits. TV Licensing rules are such that if they're told they're not welcome they have to leave immediately.

If they get arsey, as some are known to (as few of them follow the rules correctly), then simply tell them you will call the police unless they leave. Make sure you do call the police if they push it.

Anonymous said...


I have put a notice on my door which clearly states:

Therefore in accordance with Part 4 of the Communications Act 2003 no TV license is required

I have managed to avoid TVL though they have visited my house a number of times and left the usual threatening letter - ie. 'we will be back'! My plan is to simply indicate through the glass door that I need to see ID and when they have verified that they are TVL I shall just point to the sign and walk away.

Seems to me its a way of stating my position without having to enter into any dialogue or provide my name etc.

Does that sound like a reasonable plan?

Anonymous said...

Just called TVL. Over the phone I withdrew their implied right of access. I informed them that we did not use live signal etc. They said in 10 days they will send a letter outlining their acceptance that ROA is denied, that we have confirmed we need no license. He said they will continue to use other means of detection to est if we are taking live signal(Balls!)
He left it that in 2 years my data* will HAVE to be purged from their systems under data protection act (including our denial of ROA) and so the whole process will start all over.

Finally a question please; thread above details that TVL may embellish facts in order to get a warrant- seeing a TV when in fact there was none. What then can be done if they (with warranted entry) again fabricate that they did catch you with a TV. Seems they could wrap the whole case up with lies alone? Perhaps this is the reason to film everything oneself?
Good site BTW, thanks!

admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon.

TV Licensing goons can, and have, fabricated evidence to support vexatious prosecutions. We can say that without any fear at all, because it's a fact that stands on official record. Goons have been convicted and imprisoned for falsifying interview/prosecution documentation.

If a goon was minded to make things up then it would boil down to your word against theirs. In those circumstances we would plead not guilty and inform TV Licensing that their goon was a liar and you were prepared to say as much in court. In a lot of cases that is enough for TV Licensing to pull the case. If they do press on, then do tell the court that their goon is a liar and offer as much supporting evidence as you can.

A lot of Magistrates hate TV Licensing as much as we do, so they will listen to both sides of the argument.

Remember that a goon who tells lies has to remember all the lies they tell. A legally-licence-free person telling the truth, as you would be, only needs to remember one chain of events.

J. Saville said...

Hi. Until recently I've begrudgingly paid for a tv licence but have now decided I don't want to be part of what I feel is a complete scam funding the BBC and what appears to be a paedophile ring. I plan on continuing to watch tv which i realise means legally i should pay for a licence. However, if i go down the route of ignoring their letters, slamming the door on the goon's face should he come knocking having said nothing, then what are they likely to do? Unfortunately my house doesn't have much frontage so on the rare occasion that im actually in watching tv they could potentially see the tv through the window BUT without them recording it and then tracking what was time stamped recorded against what was on they'd be hard pushed to prove it was live television? if, however, they did do this and went to the trouble of getting a warrant from the judge then i would of course let them in the house to look at the tv. However, unless i was watching live tv at that point what can they prove even if the aerial is plugged in? i could have the aerial or virgin box plugged in for watching iplayer, netflix, the radio etc? Essentially, what im saying is how they can ever actually prove anything unless i admit something which i believe is the only time they ever really get to prosecute?

admin said...

Hello J. Saville.

Your name sounds familiar, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

If you receive "live" TV programmes then you should be correctly licensed. Our stance has always been to encourage alternative legal ways of avoiding the licence fee.

If you continue watching without a licence, then they are unlikely to gather any evidence of an offence if you keep ignoring them. That said, it is possible that a goon could snoop around your garden, see a TV set through the window and, with a little embellishment of the facts, decide that is sufficient evidence to ask for a warrant.

Remember that not all goons play by the rules. Some of them will do almost anything to earn their commission money.

J.Saville said...

Hi. I understand that the inspectors may be a bit creative with the truth in order to get a warrant BUT even if they do and i don't prevent them from executing the warrant what can they prove? To access iplayer - which itself is not illegal if its not broadcast live - one would need to have an aerial plugged in. Therefore checking if the TV receives live broadcasts does not prove anything? I really can't see how they'd ever prove anything without someone admitting to it and even then there's a big difference between saying something to a goon and saying something in front of a court should it ever that get that far i.e. you could just say the goon is lying which it sounds like is probably a frequent occurrence.

C J Beattie said...

Hey there

Great site btw..

With regard to your post and the warrant and if its legal and lawful there’s a wee flaw in what you wrote..

My partner is a retired lawyer and she says that you could question if the warrant is actually legal as its given under an ACT which is only given the power of the law with the consent of the governed. Now they could claim that they have implied consent by owning a TV but that wont wash as a TV can be used for more than just to watch live tv which you don’t need a licence for I.e watching Tv’s or DVD’s so they cant use the ‘implied consent’ crap.

Also the warrant has to have a wet ink signature from a judge, also an affidavit with the evidence which obtained the warrant must be shown to the person receiving the warrant.

Also since the police are there we should question why the police are attending a civil matter. The have no authority to execute the warrant nor when they arrest the victim under an obstruction claim is that lawful as that do’s not constitute obstruction for the victim refusing to sign anything.

Chapter 16, Section 2 of the TV Licensing Visiting Procedures (which is usually redacted by the BBC) states the following in bolded print: "NB - a refusal to provide name, to cooperate with the interview or to otherwise be "difficult" does not amount to an obstruction of the warrant". As noted on this very site!

There is also a question of how they are actually getting prosecutions here as the wording of the law and BBCS and TV licensing state that you do not need a licence to actually own a TV just watching live TV so coming in and seeing if the TV even if tuned in is NOT proof that they have been watching it! Its like having a fishing rod in the shed without a licence that you don’t need as you haven’t been fishing for the last 10 years!

My partner says its shocking that that magistrates are prosecuting people when they clearly don’t know or understand the actual law.

Anyways just letting you know what my partner told me..

If they knock on my door with a warrant I wont let them in, I will question the warrant through the window and ask to seek the affidavit and then hand them over to my partner lol

Keep up the good work guys


Anonymous said...

I Have a sky package that I pay for which includes broadband, landline and the basic tv package and that's only because I watch catch up on my ipad from time to time......can I get away with not having a licence, I have a tv, but we only use it for Netflix?

Anonymous said...

Hi, I had a goon knock at my house last night. We had just brought our shopping in from the car, closed the front door and literally 30 seconds later a loud banging on our front door.My 4 year old daughter was nearest to the door and opened it, I quickly made my over to the door and my daughter said " it's a big man with a light on his head" obviously this worried me as I didn't know who this person was. Basically, a large gentleman asking me if I'm the legal occupier of the house here is how the conversation went. Me " who are you"

Goon " are you the legal occupier "
Me " who are you and what are you asking me questions for"
Goon " it's a personal matter"
Me " you have 2 seconds to either tell me who you are or I will call the police"
Goon " ok I'm a tv licence "
Me " ok, I am legally oblidged not to speak to you. So please kindly get off my property"
Goon " you are legally oblidged to tell me your name"
Me " listen,you have knocked at my house, startled my child. Not shown me any identification or when asked to leave my property done so. You have cold called me under false pretences , now get off my propert or I will treat you as a trespasser. DO NOT visit my house again"
The goon then walked off back to his car and sat there for a few minuets. I forgot to add, the moment he said he was from capita I pulled out my iphone and recorded everything. Which Mr goon didn't like as he hid his face.

Could somebody please advice me on how to remove rights from my house and also if it is worthwhile complaining about this character ? Thanks in advance

Anonymous said...

I just had a tv goon my house I was caught of guard a bit and did give her my name and when she asked if I still had a tv I said yes but I don't use it, she went on a bit but I refused to answer any more questions and ask her to leave, she did say I might be issued with a warrant, was what I said enough grounds for one as its not illegal to own a tv ?

Wackford Squeers said...

I think people should remember that those they calls goons and evil are people doing a job.
To call them all evil is really quite unfair. I had a visit from TVL and the guy was professional and respectful.
It was over in minutes; yes he asked me if he could come in; yes I thought about it; and I decided, well, I have no TV; I don't watch TV and so why begrudge him access.
That was that; I can't remember if I gave my name. I had no more visits for about 2 years and now I think it's them banging on the door again.
I think I'll just let them in again, as I did last time.
Really, to call all these people evil is like calling all traffic wardens evil; all police evil, all whatever you want evil.
It's silly, and remember there are probably far more decent people out there than nasty, corrupt mendacious scumbags.