With analysts predicting a 20% rise in house prices over the next five years, it's hardly surprising that an increasing number of first-time buyers are struggling to get a foothold on the property ladder.
Across the UK almost 9 million people, mainly those struggling to purchase their own property, are choosing to rent from a private landlord. The vast majority of those will be wanting to enjoy TV programmes in the comfort of their home, but do they understand the rules surrounding the TV licence?
First of all, it is properties that are licensed - not individuals and not equipment. Legally speaking, a TV licence is required for any property where equipment is installed or used to receive TV programme services. A TV programme service means any TV programme, broadcast on any TV channel, that is available to other members of the public at the same time.
Ordinarily a single TV licence covers the reception of TV programmes on equipment throughout a property, but the TV licence requirements for homes of multiple occupation are slightly more complicated (read an earlier post all about it).
In the case of a rental property, it is usually the tenant's responsibility to pay the ongoing running costs. That includes the rent, council tax, utility bills and TV licence if one is required. Even if the tenant was renting a fully-furnished property, complete with TV set, it is normally their responsibility to buy a TV licence (if needed) and not the landlord's.
Some landlords may choose to buy a TV licence for their rental property, but they are not legally obliged to. Tenants should always assume that the responsibility falls on them, unless the tenancy agreement specifically states otherwise.
Technically speaking, it is an offence to permit the reception of TV programmes in a property that is unlicensed. This means the landlord could fall foul of the law if they knowingly allowed the tenant to dodge the TV licence fee, but it's unlikely any action would be taken against the landlord as it's a very difficult charge for TV Licensing to prove.
You will find much more information about TV Licensing in our free ebook, TV Licensing Laid Bare. If you've found this article useful please mention it to your friends.