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.

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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 (e.g. watch or record) TV programmes at the same time (or virtually the same time) as they are broadcast to the wider public. Additionally, from 1st September 2016, a TV licence is required if equipment is used to receive (e.g. watch or download) on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer.

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. 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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Further anti-BBC reading:


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 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.

Unknown 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.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys, I had the tv license officer this morning on my door, he asked me to pay the license etc, thing in the form he gave me, i give a different name, not my real one, and signed( not my signature either), he gave me a payment card to use for payment etc...I am not sure if I m in trouble and have to pay this license or not, not sure if there is a possibility they will take me to court, come again with the police..Any one had the same experience ? Thanks for your help

Anonymous said...

Surely if they spout their usual lies and garbage but imply they have a legal right to enter, then you let them in (knowing they do not have this right and while filming the visit) and you are subsequently taken to court, I would contest to the judge that the evidence obtained for that prosecution has been obtained illegally and therefore the case is null and void.

Just stopped my licence said...

I know this post has been up a while but I've just come across it, having cancelled my tv licence 3 days ago. (I got fed up watching tv. I've disconnected my satellite box and don't intend to watch live tv online.)

Anticipating that I'll get a visit from a TV licence inspector I had been wondering what to do, especially wondering if he would ask to or be entitled to check my phone or computer. The advice here has been very helpful - he won't even get inside the door! Thank you very much! :)

Anonymous said...

I cancelled my license 2 days ago and requested a refund for the advance payment made to them.
The telephone op agreed and was helpful.I also said I have cancelled the license as I was not aware I did not need a license unless I have been watching or recording live broadcasts and I have not been doing this for a number of years as I only use catch up directed to my tv from my computer via a hdmi cable.
This has been the case for a few year.He said I will send a form out so you can claim back fees you have paid and not used live tv to view or record.
I then said I really do not want to be hassled or bothered with visits from their staff as my word is good and truthful and I would like to remove implied rights of access to any person from their company.
He said, I will pass you through to the department that deals with that.
I re said what my request was about
once I spoke to the other bloke, he automatically went on his back foot when I told him "I would like to remove implied rights of access to any person from their company"
He instantly said if an officer calls and suspects we are still watching live tv or recording it we will obtain a warrant to enter your house.
I said thanks and hung up.
Like already said on here.
THE WARRANT normally sighned in print from a printer not signed in INK is printed "justice of the piece"
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.
They normally win in court as they say you obstructed them in their investigation, and you get a huge fine for obstruction.
The police are present to keep the piece but looking at past cases where warrants ( which I think do not hold water ) are served the police tell the occupier the warrant is genuine and they have the right to gain access.
NO mention of the important part.
"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"
If the police assist in this it is surely aiding and abetting in an illegal search.
I stand to be corrected but I have nothing to hide but I would not want this level of activity going on at my house after I have informed them I do not watch or record live TV and I am a law abiding person and in no way a liar.

Admin said...

Started off well, but tailed off when you started talking "wet ink" and affidavits.
About that you're incorrect.

Anonymous said...

So a warrant can just be a printed sheet with justice of the piece at the bottom and do not have to reveal what grounds they have acquired it ?

Admin said...

The actual warrant requires the signature of either a Justice or a District Judge, but it is perfectly acceptable for TVL to present a photocopied version to the occupier when it is executed.
It is possible to find out the information TV Licensing laid in order to obtain the warrant, but it's not a simple process.
Please see this post for a lot more info: http://tv-licensing.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/tv-licensing-search-warrants-prevention.html

Anonymous said...

Do you require a license for a Now TV box? I do not have sky or virgin, just a now TV box and I'm not sure about it as I only use it to watch soaps on catch up.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad to have come across this site. Just want to clarify after receiving continous letters I went online to say o fo not need a TV license.
I had been watching smart tv unplugged from aerial and watched BBC iplayer, youtube n Netflix.
Now they said they will confirm with a visit. I am scared as what I read about these goons and their lies so I put the TV in its box on top of a cupboard.

I will try not to open door to anyone but if by chance I do. Do they have a right to go in my bedroom where the box is kept and will I get into any trouble for having an aerial lead which isn't actually long enough to fit in the antenna. (It's still in living room with all my Internet wires stuff)

Admin said...

Hello Anon and thanks for your comment.

As you're aware, we recommend ignoring TV Licensing at all costs. The idea of letting one of their scummy salesmen into my home would make my stomach churn, so it's not something I would even consider. If you take the risk of allowing them entry, then they should not really be snooping around bedrooms.

Letting them in - not that we recommend it - is no guarantee that they'll leave you alone. They probably wont.

Anonymous said...

These idiots have been at my door on numerous occasions a cant help laughing at them giving some abuse and then closing the door in there face this has been going on now for about 3 years and still no warrant there a fly slime asses and I have a feeling they will be visiting me soon i really don't care even if the police are there I will still give them abuse but in a way not to be arrested THEY ARE NOTHING

Anonymous said...

what are my rights on TV Licensinging appling for a search warrant.have I the right to defend myself in court when they are applying for this warrant

dave said...

Do they send me a human rights notice before applying for a search warrant and would this make the warrant void since I've not had the chance to challenge the allegations in court

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I'm really clear on the licensing requirements, but really struggling to get clarification on a couple of issues. Here are a few contextual details, followed by the queries:

- I am a rental tenant. I do own a reasonably modern flatscreen TV (which came with Freeview pre-installed as part of the hardware), but use it only to watch on-demand services and DVDs through my Playstation. A license is not required for any of those activities; I'm perfectly confident there.

- The single-occupancy property I rent has an antenna on the roof, and a coaxial cable threaded through the exterior wall by the landlord into my living room. The coaxial is currently unplugged from the back of the TV, but I can't sever or remove it completely, or I'd be liable to the landlord for damages and repair costs.

- The house is small and access is direct from the street. As such, it's perfectly possible to see the TV itself from outside: there really isn't anywhere else I can feasibly put it, and I'm not prepared to have to live with the curtains closed 24/7. TVL can sit in their parked cars all week waiting to 'catch' me watching live broadcast TV; it won't happen, as I legitimately don't do it. However, they'd see me watching SOMETHING pretty much any night of the week, be it DVDs, iPlayer, YouTube or whatever, which I'm perfectly entitled to do without a license.

My two questions are as follows:

1) All advice seems to indicate that the best policy with visits from Capita goons is not to open the door, or if you do, to say as little as humanly possible and ask them to leave the premises. However, should they knock on while I'm very visibly watching SOMETHING two feet away through an open window, surely it would seem faintly ridiculous - and, indeed, legally a bit silly if the matter was taken further – to refuse to either answer the door, or offer a single word of explanation about what I'm (legally) watching right in front of their noses? Would you have any further advice on this sort of scenario?

2) I would also like to listen to digital radio through my TV, which I know doesn't require a license either. However, it *would* require the coaxial cable to be plugged in at the back of the TV, re-connecting it to the external antenna. Again, I know the best plan is not to let the goons in – but *hypothetically*, where would I stand in the event of an inspection being carried out with that sort of setup? In theory, of course, they have to provide 'evidence' that you're watching live broadcast TV illegally in order to get you to court...but would a connected TV be enough 'evidence' to get me in trouble, even through I'm genuinely not using it for live TV viewing? Presumably it'd just be my word against theirs at that point? Is there any way of exercising my right to listen to digital radio on a device that CAN BE (but isn't!) used to watch live broadcast TV without having to pay a license for a service I don't use?

Many thanks, great work on this site and very helpful indeed.

Anonymous said...

Ps, further to my (very long, sorry!) last comment: obviously, one possible solution to the digital radio issue would be to manually tune in only those channels that receive a radio broadcast, but I have no idea if that's even possible (or how you'd know all the hundreds of frequencies to hunt for manually).

For the sake of argument, what if it isn't possible to get the radio channels on their own?

Admin said...

Hello Anon (7 July 2015 at 13:48) and thanks for your well-composed comment.

I shall respond to each of your points in turn.

1) Suppose you did answer the door and TV Licensing saw a DVD playing on your TV set. That could, in combination with other evidence (e.g. your external TV aerial), be enough for them to attempt a warrant application (exceptionally rare as those are). If I was in the same situation as you I would relish the execution of a SW, as Capita will undoubtedly look very silly when they find nothing. Of course there is the chance they'd falsely scream "obstruction" or fabricate some "evidence" during their visit, but that's a chance I'd be willing to take. Of course it's your call and if it gives you piece of mind, then feel free to tell the goon it's a DVD (not that he'll believe you anyway).

2) The topic of using a TV set for radio reception has vexed us for several years. Probably best if I refer you to our previous post on the subject. You are correct that it might boil down to your word against the goon's that you used the TV for listening to radio only. It's a potentially difficult situation, as the court will naturally be more inclined to side with the goon (however dishonest they inevitably are). If I was caught in such a situation I would stick to my guns and quote the BBC's admission that it's perfectly okay to listen to radio via a TV set without a TV licence.

Unknown said...

Hi. Great article.

A question. I cancelled my TV license in March, as I realised I just never really watched mainstream terrestrial TV in the last 5 years. All I ever watch now is Netflix which I know I don't need a license for. I have also unplugged and disconnected my satellite receiver equipment from the TV.

I don't really even watch the BBCi player. But the problem is, is that I have a SMART TV with the BBCi player app installed, which cannot be removed. I have now just discovered that it does have live streaming capabilities by clicking "On Now" in the Channel menu.

I don't want to disconnect my internet because I use the Netflix app. But because my TV is able to receive a live broadcast signal through the built-in BBCi player app via my internet connection, does this mean that it will be viewed as connected live broadcasting equipment that would require a TV license, in the same way that a connected freeview box would be?

Thanks in advance.

Admin said...

Hello Unknown and thanks for dropping by.

Yours is a very good comment and I think I'll compose a post on this very subject later today.

You are totally correct that Netflix only (or indeed catch-up on BBC iPlayer) does not legally require a TV licence.

Mere possession of equipment capable of receiving TV programmes, doesn't require a TV licence. It is the act of actually receiving TV programmes (e.g. making the conscious decision to click "watch live" or navigate to a "live" webpage) that is licensable. Unless you actually receive TV programmes you're within the law.

Of course you might have difficulty trying to convince TV Licensing of that fact. They understand the law - as I've just explained it - perfectly well, but the fact their livelihoods depend on TV licence receipts can skew their interpretation.

By far the best option is to ignore TV Licensing completely. If you do that then you'll never be in the situation of having to try and prove your innocence.

Anonymous said...

I had a guy knock and without thinking I answered it. He could hear the boys' dvd playing. He kept insisting he wanted to check it. I had one child in bed and a baby in my arm. I found it quite intimidating as my OH works long hours. As you can guess it was late out, so fact he got in my block of flats without buzzing me for entry caught me off guard too. He claiming that ppl two days ago (on the saturday) came and stood outside my flat door and using their equipment could see I received live TV.... how true is this claim? Is that not an invasion of my privacy? I have an android box. I have just disconnected the sky box since his visit cos it just sat there dormant. So wouldnt have even been on, so how do they get a signal? As it is my property I don't want to throw it. If I have it out away in my storage cupboard which is in my hallway, does it matter that I own one? He tried asking me about if we hAve xbox for the dvds. We do but I didn't tell him that. Why does that the x box matter? ?? Plus he said he could get search warrant based on their equipment. Was that just a scare tactic to try check out the place?

Anonymous said...

My husband is a vulnerable person who recently came from hospital after nearly dying and has an emergency stoma and is on morphine. After being on it once before when he had cancer I missed one payment and when I was out for an hour a goon came and as we had a valid license my husband let them in. When I get home he was in a highly agitated state, he had been forced to make a statement. The information on this was not correct or clear. We heard nothing for several months, then he got a summons. The license is in my name and some payments had been lost. When I say some, I found that they lost three years of payments. I refused to go to court, sent a brief 18 pages long, copies of the payment receipts, the new license, and old one, and won case without having to go. It's always well to challenge goons. I complain a lot about this lot, they lose payments all the time, now a goon wants to come again. I have issued a notice telling them they don't have the right to come, no implied right of access and I will call police as they are breaching trespass. My husband is banned from the door while I am out and if I open they will not get in or any information. I will film and ask them to leave. I have right, goon does not.

Admin said...

Thank you Anon for dropping by. As you know first-hand, TV Licensing routinely terrorises decent people who make genuine errors or oversights.
If you feel able to, I'd like to be able to share your experiences with my other readers. I am happy to anonymise you if necessary.
If you're prepared to tell your story in a bit more detail please contact me by email (see sidebar).

Martha said...

Please help. I have had 2 police officers at my door with an apprehension warrant for a £75 TV license fine. I've never had a TV license since coming back to Scotlsnd from Ireland 4 years ago. All TV has always been watched through the Xbox,I players and so forth. I've never had anyone at my door, never had a search warrant issued and just a reminder letter from them that I ignored. I'm so worried please help.

AreUKidding said...

This article was really helpful. I just had a goon knock on my door demanding to enter my property and check whether we were telling the truth with regards to our explanation that we do not watch live broadcasts on our TV. We only use it for the XBox and we watch catch up TV on my desktop or via Xbox Live. I have no ariel attached to any device, no TV was on so he couldn't of heard one being played. My boyfriend told him to go away and he said he would find another way. Fine we will let someone in with some kind of authority to check, but just turning up is quite frankly dangerous. What if one of my children were home alone or my elderly parents - are they supposed to let a complete stranger into the house who randomly turns up just because he says he is an officer. He could be a murderer, rapist, theif or all three rolled into one. Its a joke the BBC actually encourage their goons to put people at risk in this way. I received no letter or communication. Someone could have called to ask for an update on my status and I would have happily told them I still do not require a license. They could then arrange a visit with me if I do not want to deny access and I could either comply or exercise my right to withdraw it. That is the safe way to do this. Not the KGB, Gestapo approach.

Anonymous said...

I had a goon at the door today who told me I could not ban their right to access in Scotland surly this can't be true

Admin said...

TVL changed their policy to stop accepting WOIRA instructions in Scotland a few months ago.
Their argument is that the laws on trespass are different to those in England and Wales.
As the article above suggests, withdrawing the implied right of access is not without its problems. That being the case it's probably best to avoid it anyway.

Anonymous said...

What is the best way to deal with them then as there must be something us in Scotland can do thanks

Admin said...

The best option appears to be ignoring TVL completely: bin its letters and leave its visitors out in the cold.
By ignoring TVL you depriving it of information it needs to act further.
Experience tells us that "provoking" TVL by arguing with goons and writing snide comments on the outside of threatograms before returning them often leads to further problems.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again will just shut door in future and ignore the letters��

Unknown said...

Just had a Goon at my door asking if I was related to the previous occupier as they had a TV license but not anymore, which is my wife, plus he asked if I had any TV equipment. I advised that I did however I do not watch live TV. I said that I only watch Netflix and play video games on my console. He then proceeded to ask me if he can come in and inspect all my equipment to ensure that I was telling the truth. It was at that point I said that he could not access the property without a warrant. He agreed with me and said he understands my situation and then left. Its about time these fools take note that we are not going to take this BS. Hope this helps anyone having some trouble. BTW I live in Scotland.

Admin said...

Hello Paul, I'd say you've got virtually no chance of them attending with a warrant - particularly in Scotland.

Anonymous said...

I have a TV and a cable provider. I don't watch live TV... haven't turned the TV on for months and occasionally watch catch up on my laptop. I stopped paying TVL for these reasons a couple of months ago. Their letters are becoming increasingly more aggressive - which really annoys me. I believe they should take responsibility and disable me, as a non payer instead of putting up with this aggressive crap - like Netflix would if I cancelled their service.

My question - is owning a TV enough to fail the no TVL test?


Admin said...

Hello Anon.
In short, merely owning a TV/aerial should not be enough to fail the no TV test. It is the act of using the equipment to actually receive TV programmes that is licensable. Please note, however, that TV Licensing does like to "try it on" by making up the rules as it goes along.
Can I suggest you also read these posts, which are very relevant to your question:
- Taking a TV Licence Holiday: Confirms that if you simply choose not to watch any TV programmes, even though a TV set is plugged in, then no TV licence is required.
- TV Licence Evasion: The Rudd Defence: Discusses case law confirming the same: no TV licence is needed unless equipment is actually used (not just available for use) to receive TV programmes.

Anonymous said...

Hi Admin,
I have just recently moved into my rented accommodation for 1 month now. Since I have been here, I have received 2 letters from tv licensing stating that it is illegal to download or stream to which I did stream a football match. TV license has stated that they wrote to me for 4 times and but I only received two which I am guessing that the other two was for the previous tenants. Also, I have written to them stupidly ( after reading the comments above) to admit that I have streamed but have stopped the moment I received their warning letter. And now their second letter is stating that an officer will come by and i might have to go to court. Please advise as I am a new student in this country and have no idea on what to do at all.

Admin said...

Hello Anon and thanks for dropping by.
It was a mistake to write to TV Licensing and confirm that you streamed a football match (e.g. a broadcast TV programme) without a valid TV licence. That said, it is unlikely they would pursue the matter on the basis of a letter from you.
If you want to continue watching/recording TV programmes at the same time as they are broadcast, then you should buy a TV licence.
If you do not legally need a TV licence then simply ignore TV Licensing completely. Bin TV Licensing letters. Never engage is casual chit chat with strangers on the doorstep. Do not allow strangers access to your property (TV Licensing has no automatic right to enter). If you inadvertently engage with a TV Licensing goon, simply say "I do not legally need a TV licence" and close the door on them.
Do not make the mistake of trusting TV Licensing. Many of its people are scum of the lowest order.
Best of luck with your studies here in the UK.

Anonymous said...

If you can record their visit to prove you have not been watching live t.v would this not be easier?

Admin said...

Hello Anon again.
We do not recommend any legally-licence-free person allows TV Licensing access to their property. If you don't legally need a TV licence, which I'm assuming you don't, then you don't need to prove anything at all to TV Licensing.
A significant proportion of TV Licensing goons have been proven to act dishonestly - that is a fact. If you allow them entry, then you could be their next victim.
Michael Shakespeare allowed them voluntary access, but person (or persons) unknown still invented evidence against him. You can read all about his remarkable story here.
Seriously - allowing them access is risky. Do not engage in any sort of dialogue with them. Ignore TV Licensing completely.

Anonymous said...

I am 75 and don't now need a licence. They are demanding my NI number, do I have to supply it?

Admin said...

The reason they ask for your NI number is to verify your age, so they can claim reimbursement from the DWP. If you don't provide it, they might become awkward and say "if we can't verify your age, we can't process your application". An alternative form of age verification should be acceptable, but you'd need to ask them.

Anonymous said...

Hi i have just received my final notification for not paying my licence since august, they are saying that an officer is authorised to visit my property, I was wondering if I should now declare I do not need a licence on their website or just ignore all future letters and potential calls?

Admin said...

Hello Anon, it's your call really. Some people like the piece of mind of contacting TV Licensing to declare no TV, but they're under no legal obligation to and sometimes the letters/visits continue. Others choose to ignore TV Licensing completely, which is our preference.

Martin said...

Hi, last time tv licencing came here, they sent 2 old ladies, claiming to be here to visit my wife, saying they were old friends. My wife wasn't in, but she has no idea who they are. They came back about 3 weeks later, this time, introduced themselves as tv licencing and asked to gain access. Told them to bugger off.

Then a guy turned up, told me i had to let him in, asked him if he knew when the local hospital is, he gave me a blank look and told him to leave or he's been going there.

Now, nothing other than letters has arrived since, but my question is, if they do try to force entry, am I within my rights to beat the crap out of them?

Or can I only threaten them? Court Search Warrants aside.

Also do any of your know what the avg conviction rate is and punishment for refusing search warrants? Might be fun just refusing them.

~ Martin, Scotland.

Admin said...

Hello Martin and thanks for your comment.
Information disclosed to the TV Licensing Blog by the Scottish Courts Service indicates that there have been no search warrants applied for/granted to TV Licensing in Scotland over the last 4 years. That is the case for every Scottish Sheriff Court. As you'll be aware, the evidential standards in Scotland are higher than in the rest of the UK, so there's a train of thought that TV Licensing doesn't go for warrants because it knows the court will probe deeply and see through its bullshit.
Even if they try to force entry, you are not entitled to beat the crap out of them. The only circumstances in which it would be permissable to assault a TV Licensing goon is in an act of genuine self-defence, say they were coming at you with a weapon.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I recently moved to a flat of my own and when I was moving in my stepdad tuned in my television and sat and watched TV for 5 minutes.
I have started receiving letters threatening court and fines etc if I don't pay for a license. I never watch TV I Only use it to play my PS4. My mum tells me to get one, I don't like feeling like a criminal should I just pay the money even though I have no intention of ever watching or recording live television?

Anonymous said...

(Hi again sorry, this is the other half of my previous comment)
I don't think I have done anything wrong so should I just allow them entry and be done with it? I really don't want to.
Can they tell that the tv has been used even though it was about a month ago and for only a few minutes?

Admin said...

Hello Anon and thenk you for your comments (both of them).
If you don't receive "live" broadcast TV programmes - which you're telling me you don't - then you don't legally need a TV licence and you don't need to prove anything at all to TV Licensing.
Ignore TV Licensing completely, safe in the knowledge that you are in compliance with the law. Simply bin its letters and close the door on its scummy operatives. Be careful to identify any strangers calling at your property and do not engage in casual chit-chat with strangers on the doorstep. TV Licensing can, and do, stitch up innocent people that make the mistake of talking to them.
You cannot trust TV Licensing at all. Do not entertain for one moment the idea of allowing them access to your property - they have zero right.

Anonymous said...

what are the rulings for the implied right access if you live in a flat where your letter box is a lock box at main entrance and have a security door preventing access to the public without buzzing them in to communal area and you have no doorbell or letterbox at the front door of your private domicile, which is like i said not accessible to the pubic , does implied access still apply or will they be trespassing if anyone other then me buzz's them into the communal area of the building and knock directly on my door

Anonymous said...

are you going to respond my question about implied right of access

Admin said...

Believe it or not, I haven't got all day to respond to comments at the drop of a hat.

If someone else buzzes them in, then that person - who presumably has just as much right as you - has granted them entry.

Don't get bogged down with the idea of WOIRA. It's not the magic bullet people once thought.

Anonymous said...

So if i unplug aerial and bin it then give my bt box back to bt then notify TVL that no tv licience needed as i am no longer watching live tv just catch up tv, why wouldn't i let the goon in to check that what iam claiming is all true? Also i live in a block of 40 apartments with one communal aerial on roof dont know if this is a factor or not.

Admin said...

You can let a goon in if you like.
I wouldn't let a goon in because:
(a) I do not trust them at all - please see numerous reasons why throughout this blog.
(b) In principle no-one should have to prove their innocence to TV Licensing.

If you want to let so random scummer into your home then crack on.

Anonymous said...

i was talking to a police sgt. the other day and in his own words the only part of the 2003 communications act. that is criminal is malicious communication, does there bullying letters claiming criminal wrong doing and stating they will read you your rights which is something only a the police can legally do, to which i feel distressed and victimised do these letters amount to malicious communication as absence of a tv licence is not proof of any wrong doing.

Admin said...

The police sergeant was wrong and, to be frank, the Communications Act 2003 is not likely to be a piece of legislation he/she is familiar with. TV licence evasion, contrary to section 363 of the Communications Act 2003, is also a criminal offence. Malicious communications is an area of legislation that we are not fully familiar with, not least because it is actually covered by several different offences. As far as we know TV Licensing somehow manages to stay (narrowly) within the law when it pens its letters.

Anonymous said...

just read section 363 and I'm am evan more confident that i am not breaking any laws as i do not use any receviers
broadcasting live tv

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an informative site. My tv only has capability to receive analogue signal and is therefore obsolete as a tv receiver but I use it to watch DVD's, so if observed someone may see the flickering light of the screen and assume I was watching tv.

My question is really about access as I live in a converted flat and it might be possible for the licensing representative to gain access to the hallway of my building if allowed entry by one of my neighbours. If they then knock on my door do I have the right to ask them to leave the BUILDING not just the door of my flat, having already gained access?

Maryon Jeane said...

Re the execution of search warrants with the attendance of police - this blog is rather interesting, and could explain why various videos of search warrants being executed show the police making erroneous statements about the law: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R3VC2DT4MEDJ0S/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0091FS0OS&channel=detail-glance&nodeID=11052681&store=kitchen

Anonymous said...

Years ago i never needed a licence but when i purchased another tv i renewed the licence and they backdated it.I wrote to them repeatedly to rectify it but never received any replies so eventually i wrote a letter telling them that to be fair i would not buy any more licences until i got my money back and if they did not agree to this arrangement please write and tell me.You guessed i never received a reply so the arrangement still stands.I am now threatened with inspectors and even though i do not watch tv when they arrive i will ask them if they have my money and if not please go away or words to that effect.Could i demand the money they owe me plus interest and compensation for all the stress they are causing me?

Fedupwiththis said...

I'm really hoping somebody can help me. Just over a year ago, I received a letter from a magistrates court over 200 miles away from my home with my name, date of birth and NI number on it, but with an address I had never heard of, stating that I had been taken to court for not having a tv license at the address on the letter. I rang the court and said that they had the wrong person and that I was angry and upset that my details had been attached to this case. I have lived at my current address for almost 18 years and it'd be very easy for their "Intel" to verify that I am not the person at this address, particularly as they mentioned another surname which I have never been known as. After several questions, the lady at the court said it was obvious it wasn't me and assured me that the case was closed. However, last week, my work received an attachment of earnings order with regards to this matter. Again, I rang the court and explained. I was told that if I was babysitting at that address, then I would be liable to prosecution for watching tv, even if I wasn't the tenant. I spent ages going over everything again, including that I had never even visited the town in question. The woman obviously didn't believe me, and even said that TV licensing had fast tracked the court case and it had come round full circle. She said she would urgently email their intel and to ring Friday. On Thursday, I decided to ring TV Licensing myself and came across a very rude woman who said my name was on the letter and that I had to pay it or my boss would be arrested and that they didn't just come after innocent people. I told her that I had legally held a tv license at my current address for almost 18 years, paid from a joint account and that it could easily be checked via the electoral register, but she wasn't interested and said I would have to prove my innocence in a court despite it being over 200 miles away. She didn't agree that the law says you're innocent until proven guilty in this country. I rang the central court for the area in desperation and spoke to somebody else who said the woman the day before had just made notes on the account and had done nothing. I think she was listening to me, but I thought the woman a year ago was listening and here we are. Nobody will tell me any dates they were supposed to have spoken to me or where the intel is coming from, probably because they know they haven't got a leg to stand on, but I really can't afford to pay solicitors to fight this or see why I should attend court over 200 miles away. I have received no other letters at my home address since the first letter over a year ago and I'm not at my wits end with them. Some advice would be greatly appreciated.

Admin said...

What we would normally recommend - and it sounds like you've done this - is to contact the court in question, explain the situation and ask to make a Statutory Declaration. This involves you explaining the situation to the court and swearing, on oath, that you have no knowledge whatsoever of the offence and you were not the person involved. Doing that should wipe the slate clean. It might be worth your while getting to the court, despite the distance.

Unknown said...

Hi my ex partner has been fined 3 times by tvl. But on no occasion did she watch TV .she has learning difficulties and doesn't do well with any one in authority. Con in to signing a declaration. Only once was a coution given. Is they any thing she can do to prevent action taken in future.

Anonymous said...

I had a guy at the door today saying he' was from British Gas to read the meter. Advised him we were not with BG and he had the wrong house. He then looked through his little box and said he was from G4S for TVL. I told him I didn't believe him as thought it was a con. Is it possible he was telling the truth?

We don't watch live TV but we were watching something on Netflix at the time so he would've heard it from the living room down the hall.

Should I now be expecting a search warrant?

Anonymous said...

I don't have a TV or computer, but I do have an aerial lead in an old box full of leads and adapter plugs. I've received many threatening letters from TV licensing telling me they'll get a search warrant. My question is do I need a TV licence? Should I just go out and get one, or maybe give the lead away to a charity shop or something to stop the threats?

Admin said...

Is this a joke?
You don't need a TV licence for an aerial lead.
You don't need a TV licence merely because you own a PC (or even TV set for that matter).
It is the act of TV reception that is licensable, not ownership or possession of the equipment to do so.
A TV licence is only required for those properties where equipment is used to receive or record "live" (as broadcast) TV programmes.

Anonymous said...

Not a joke, sorry my knowledge of the law isn't too great. I thought maybe a TV aerial lead would be considered capable of receiving a live TV signal - the buggers might even tell the judge that is was essential for doing so. Anyway, I think I'll just get a licence to be better safe than sorry. I don't want them coming in and going through my drawers and cupboards, TV or not. Thanks for your help.

Admin said...

I am sorry to hear that you feel that way.
Coerced into paying for a licence you don't legally need - it really is shameful that TV Licensing can act in such a manner.
Best of luck.

Unknown said...

A simple question. If you do not need a TV licence are you legally obliged to make that deceleration or respond to any of their letters whatsoever?

Admin said...

An equally simple answer: No.

Unknown said...

Thanks for that, that's what I thought. I only wish the guy I spoke to when I phoned citizens advice was as well informed. I asked him exactly that question 3 times and all he would answer me was to make the declaration with TV licencing and how to do it, he would not give me an answer yes or no. He either didn't have a clue or he was a budding politician. I would have respected him more if he told me he didn't know. Have now lost a bit of faith in the CAB. And sorry about spell checker, it was supposed to be "declaration" and not "deceleration" lol

Anonymous said...

Hello Chaps just wondering about some letters they keep sending.. no yesterday a new kind of letter was put,, they say Opem inmediatly so i did and it says:
we called
Time Where:
my adress

this is the first time i see this letter have any one of you have gotten this kinda letter?

i do have a tv and a Play station 4 I DONT WATCH ANY KIND OF LIVE TV matter fact Netflix and play video games thats all!!!

should i keep ingnoring them what if they come with a search warrant? on what basis i can defend my self, whats the gound of evidence they have against me?

Admin said...

This is a We Said We'd Call card and they're nothing new.
Read more here: http://tv-licensing.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/tv-licensing-called-and-assume-youre.html
If you don't need a TV licence, we urge you to keep ignoring TV Licensing. By providing TV Licensing with information to which it's not entitled, you would be making it easier for them to personalise their threats and potentially set you up.

Unknown said...

Hi I had an alleged officer at my door last week who produced a ID card however it did not look very professional nor did it have a photographic ID. He asked me how I used to pay which was direct debit, he asked if I would like to set up a new direct debit which I replied no am not handing over bank details on my door step. He then asked me to sign a form to verify that he had been there, before signing I had a quick read and it stated that I had been caught watching TV and could be fined up to £1000.00. I asked if he had seen me watching TV which he replied no & handed me the unsigned slip. Are they legally allowed to ask you to sign a form for the wrong reason, baring in mind this was to say he had been there?

Admin said...

Hello Scott and thanks for your comment.
The document said you'd been caught, even though you hadn't?
Potentially you could have problems if he tells his bosses the same story. Some TV Licensing goons do, as a matter of routine, tell lies to their bosses and the courts.
Sadly you might not know if they're going to attempt further action for several months. That why it is very important to keep that form safe and make sure you have a written account, ideally witnessed, of everything said/done when the goon visited.

Unknown said...

Yes that's correct, the opening line says you were visited by an officer who found that I was using TV receiving equipment and could be fined up to £1000.00. when I read this I asked him is this correct and he replied no (No he had not fond me watching TV) so he handed me the unsigned copy.

is it a legal requirement for officers to tell you what you are signing i.e the small print. luckily I read it.

Unknown said...

Hi,is a JP issued warrant legally enforceable if the door is closed,ie can they break in,thank you.

Admin said...

Legally speaking, a warrant granted to TV Licensing does authorise forced entry to a property if necessary. However, TV Licensing has its own policy never to force entry. If they tried to execute a warrant and there was no response, they would simply return some other time. In England & Wales and Northern Ireland a warrant is valid for one calendar month from the date it is granted. In Scotland a warrant is valid for 30 days from the date it is granted. That said, TV Licensing search warrants are exceptionally rare. Please see these articles to learn more:
- TV Licensing Search Warrants: Prevention Better than Cure
- BBC Releases TV Licensing Search Warrant Statistics

Anonymous said...

I have long been bothered by the threat of having to open my home to a stranger without any notice. It grates on me that I am considered guilty until proven innocent. I am socially anxious and feel daily anxiety at the prospect. So much so that I asked a local police officer for clarification of the law; He told me 'TVL do not need a warrant to enter addresses where it is believed a crime may be being commited." He said that probable cause is satisfied simply by my not having a T.V. licence. Probable cause means that police can enter properies to do TVL inspection if they 'believe' it is necessary. He didn't mention any requirement for evidence to support that belief. Is this true? (I just know someone will call while my boyfriend is tied naked to the coffee table!) Ha!

Admin said...

Hello Anon.
No, it certainly is not true.
TV Licensing, categorically, does not have the legal right to enter a person's property without their permission (save for the highly unlikely instance they have a warrant, which they won't).
The police officer misled you.
Please read the post above carefully.

Caviar & Meths said...

What is the likelihood of getting a visit from a licensing goon BEFORE receiving any written communication from them? Do they always write first before they send a goon out?

Admin said...

It does happen, as demonstrated by the fact people are prosecuted if their licence expired only a few days earlier.
I wouldn't say it was very common - maybe one case in every twenty.
As with all goon visits, you are far more likely to get one in a densely-populated area rather than out in the wilds.

Anonymous said...

I do not watch any live TV or BBC iPlayer, but I do own a television for watching DVDs. I do not therefore need a TV license, but if the licensing officers were to enter my home or obtain a warrant to do so, would I be likely to be fined? The television is not plugged into the satellite, but it would be hard to prove either way that I did or did not watch live television or iPlayer.

Admin said...

The onus is on them to prove that you do receive TV programmes (or iPlayer programmes) without a valid licence. As long as you stick to the line that your TV set is unplugged and for DVDs only, then you should be okay.
TV Licensing is dishonest. They might pretend to have evidence against you, even if they do not. They do that in the hope you'll simply roll over and accept your fate.

Brixun said...

do i need a license to have a tv with a coaxial cable attached even tho i do not watch tv? the cable is just an aerial to listen to DAB rabio thru my tv

Admin said...

No, you don't.
If put "DAB radio" into the search bar (top of page) you'll see we've previously written about this.

Anonymous said...

I have been tv license free for just over a year as I only watch DVDs. Today I was watching a DVD when a man walked up my garden lane. My tv can be seen from the window, but as he simply pushed a leaflet through my letter box, I assumed it was yet another takeaway menu. However, I have just looked at it and found it to be from Tv Licensing.
They say they called and missed me (the visitor did not knock my door.....we both saw eachother) and that their officer suspects me of illegally watching television without a license. The leaflet says they are rearranging a visit to my home and will obtain a search warrant if necessary.
I know the law has changed recently, so should I contact tv licensing and arrange a visit and do I need to purchase a tv license to stop their visits? I sincerely hope that watching DVDs is not illegal without a licence.

Admin said...

You do not need a TV licence to watch pre-recorded DVDs - fact.
Don't be too concerned by TV Licensing's calling card - it might not have even been a TV Licensing person that dropped it in (could have been G4S, which is sub-contracted to push these through doors).
Please see our free ebook for more info.

Stigg said...

I have just been visiting my girlfriends house when a TVL cretin turned up with a warrant, l refused him entry, refused to give my name and informed him l do not live at this property.

The police officer " assisting " blurted out the name of the landlord who my girlfriend has rented the property from recently. The cretin wrote down this name.

2 questions, my girlfrined has every intention of getting a licence and will do so tomorrow.

Will this suffice in them not returning as she is now terrifeid

And will the landlord get into any trouble as he does not live here clearly.

Stigg said...

I am currently at my girlfriend house and a TVL cretin turned up with a warrant.

I did not let him in, l also did not give my name but the police officer " assisting " him blurted out the name of my Gf's landlord. I asked what possible proof or evidence he had l was the landlord and he had none.

The cretin wrote down this name. My Gf who has only recently moved in will now be getting a tv licence. Will this now stop them calling and also will my Gf's landlord be in trouble ?

Admin said...

The warrant is for a property, not an individual - by refusing them access you have committed an offence, not your girlfriend or her landlord.
The fact they were executing a warrant indicates that they have insufficient evidence against the landlord. As they've been unable to execute the warrant, they still have insufficient evidence against the landlord. As he/she is no longer resident at the property, he/she is off the hook now.
As tenant it is your girlfriend's responsibility to make sure the property has a TV licence if one is needed. If you receive TV/iPlayer programmes at the property without a valid licence, as it sounds like you currently do, then TV Licensing could take further action against you or your girlfriend.
Please download and read our free ebook - it has the answer to many more questions.

Anonymous said...

I have been receiving letters now for two years and up to now it said legal occupier but the last letter had my full name how have they got this.
I don't watch or have a tv I ignore all letters from them.

Anonymous said...

These goons have been writing to me and calling for 4 yrs+. I just totally ignore them, no problems...
No communication what so ever. They only have 1/2 hr per visit and then they have to move on.
Just post back to sender all documentation and ignore them when they visit, job done!
Video them and post it on the net. Take pictures of the car they drive and post it on the net.
Nice.......I will never buy a TV liecence. I have not ever owned 1 and i am 54.

Anonymous said...

First of all I would like to say thank you for the existence of a site like this. It has helped me be more calm and relaxed about about the harassment I get from Tv licensing. Since first finding this site years ago, I feel fine about treating all their communication as junk mail and have comfortably found the right order of things, which is they are simply salespeople with very bizarre and warped sales pitches. Anyway, for the first time, last week they made a visit whilst I was out and now sent a letter with the name that was on the door. Whilst I totally disagree with the arrogant, rude and assumptive attitude they always keep, I was considering calling them only to say my address doesn't require a licence. However I don't then want to get into a discussion about my personal details or have to state they can never enter my home if they want to visit. I was wondering as I'm in Scotland, are they as aggressive as the stories from down south? Would a call not be a quick and harmless way to make them stop?
Oh yes- the letter said they're opening an investigation, which means another investigation, on top of the investigation they already had?!?!

Admin said...

Thanks for your comment and kind words Anon.
We would discourage anyone who doesn't legally need a TV licence from telling TV Licensing anything. TV Licensing has no legal business with these people and they should not be doing TV Licensing's work for it.
If you contact TV Licensing you might get a few months respite, but you can guarantee they will be back to their menacing enquiries within the space of a year.

Anonymous said...

Ok. Thank you for your reply. Yes, I agree. It was just a temporary lapse in my judgement. Upon reflection, I do recall how they are very much like a brick wall. Best regards

Anonymous said...

Hi Guys , Thanks for all your posts, I have learned a hell o a lot from it... You know what the worst thing I myself have found, well I live in a high rise block of flats, and been in the same flat ( before my recent move ) for 8 years, had all the Red Letters, " Dear Occupant " , you know the ones ! and I have never had a T V License, and never opened my door if I didn't know who it was. So for what Crap is on T V I just do not justify paying out £150 is it ?? and had a " Good Run " without a License... Now the worst thing I could have done!! I have moved into my new flat, high rise, got talking to a neighbour, he rebels against them, but said they are " RUTHLESS" FOR VISITING, arrrr sorry, cap lock,,,, so I rang up, explained id never owned a t v at previous address , and want a new license, pay £11.60 per fortnight, well all was going ok, then I started missing here n there, until it was too much, Bamm!!!! Knock on the front door, I looked through the spy hole, yes, " A Goon " , who I thought was a religious person. All nicely nice, did not expect that 2 weeks later I had a summons to court, pleaded guilty, £200 fine... The moral of my story is,,, the worse thing I did was to actually be honest when I moved in and got licensed, if I could go back 4 months i'd deffo do it the old way !!!!! ;-) Cheers guys, Good luck, and " Don't get Licensed in the first place, PS, if you Anon

James said...

The house where I live is divided into two flats - 140A (which is fully licensed) and 140B (which is also fully licensed). There is no part of the property which is not contained within one of these two flats and therefore no part of the property which is unlicensed. TV Licensing have now sent a threatening letter to "The Present Occupier" at 140 (presumably meaning the whole house) threatening a visit from their Enforement Officers, despite having been previously told that both flats are licensed.

What is the legal position here? If they were, somehow, to obtain a warrant for 140 would this cover 140A and/or 140B?

Also, have I any redress against TV Licensing for fabricating an address and then demaning a licence for it, and how can I persuade them to remove this fabricated address from their database.

Anonymous said...

Hi all , Please can I get some advice, A GOON knocked my door after several letters. Told him I download stuff and don’t need a licence. He tried to step foot in to "see if I needed a licence by viewing my equipment (ohhhh matron) I refused him entry and he left stating he would be back ??! What’s his next move ? Can a warrant be obtained without my name ? Mr C

Paul O' Connor said...

I have been without a TV for nearly 20 years and I haven't used Iplayer since the rules changed in 2016. But I still get letters nearly every month about TV inspectors, with threats and over the top scare tactics. I even got one this morning warning I have '10 days to reply' ...yawn.

If you added up the cost of the letters and postage over the years it must be hundreds of pounds- multiply that across the UK and you can see how the license money is being squandered.

Anonymous said...

My monthly threatening letter arrived yesterday. It was signed by John Hales. Poor fellow, he has been signing these threat-o-grams for years and years and no notice of promotion yet.
Is there some way of finding out how much these clowns spend on letters? Bulk postage rates should apply. BTW they write in their letter that they visit an average of 10,101 addresses a day. That must cost a bit.
The resistance continues!

Steve said...

Thanks very much for this site. I've been considering cancelling my TV licence for years - I simply do not watch TV at all (just the odd DVD) but have been scared of the consequences. Frankly, I still am (even more so having read your site, actually), but I am considering going for it anyway as I resent paying the money every month for nothing.

I have a few questions, if you don't mind answering - apologies if these are answered elsewhere on the site, I have read quite a lot of it but not all.

1) I am sometimes out of the country for months at a time. What would happen if TV Licensing did visit my premises with a search warrant while I was out of the country? My post would be forwarded to a family member who would notify me of it via e-mail, but I assume they don't write to arrange a date for the warrant visit.

2) If I were out of the country when I received a court summons, could I be compelled to return to the UK at my own expense to defend myself in court? Or would I have an option to ask for the case to be deferred until my return? As in point 1, I have my post redirected to a relative who would scan the summons and e-mail it to me, possibly after a few days' delay.

3) I generally don't answer the door if I am not expecting a caller. I live in a second floor flat so I can't easily see who is at the door. Does this mean there's a risk of being accused of (unintentional) obstruction if TV Licensing did visit with a warrant? I would probably not answer the door, just as I wouldn't for any unexpected caller. Would I have some kind of (genuine) warning that they intended to apply for a warrant, so that I could change my door answering habits? (Not that I think I should have to, but I guess that has nothing to do with it.)

4) Am I right in thinking I am under no obligation to take down the TV aerial if I don't have a licence? I think it is a communal aerial for the whole block of flats, and in any case it is probably owned by the freeholder of the building - I am a leaseholder, so I don't own the building. I would ensure there was no cable from the aerial socket in my flat to the back of my TV or DVD player.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Admin said...

Hello Steve and thanks for your comment. I am not in a position to reply in detail at the moment, but if you check back late this evening I will have done.

Admin said...

Hello again Steve.
Your questions revolve very heavily around search warrants. These are incredibly rare and you really shouldn't be too concerned about them. If you search our blog you will find much more on the issue of warrants. This post may be of particular interest.
Turning to each of your questions in turn:

1. Suppose TV Licensing (hypothetically) tried to execute a warrant when you were overseas, all that would happen is that they'd see there was no response and they would leave with the intention of executing the warrant some other time. The warrant technically allows forced entry, but it is TV Licensing policy not to exercise that option. In England and Wales a warrant is valid for one entry within one calendar month. If they were unable to achieve that they would either abandon the warrant entirely or have to seek a fresh warrant. Even if they did (hypothetically) manage to enter the property in your absence, they would not be able to obtain any evidence of TV licence evasion against you. They can only do that if you are present in the property.

2. If you were overseas then you would not be compelled to return. You would simply get in touch with the court, explain the circumstances and a new hearing date would be set.

3. You can't be guilty of obstructing a warrant you don't know about, so if they only announced their presence by knocking at the door then you could reasonably say "I didn't know it was them and I always ignore unsolicited callers at the door". That defence obviously wouldn't hold so well if they were shouting through the letterbox and you were within earshot. It is TV Licensing policy to normally warn the occupier of an unlicensed property if a warrant is being considered, however, they don't always do that.

4. You are under no legal obligation to modify your equipment in any way at all. Disconnecting all external aerial leads is a prudent precaution, but even that is not necessary. All that matters is that you are not actually receiving TV programmes (or iPlayer on-demand) without a valid TV licence.

Hope that all helps.

Steve said...

Thank you, I didn't expect such a prompt response; it's very helpful. I am currently building up my nerve and will probably cancel my licence this weekend on the TVL website. :-) Thanks again, I really appreciate it.

TerryS said...

I looked after my Dad for years until he passed away in February. Because he liked TV and live sports I had a license and a subscription to Sky. After he passed I cancelled the Sky package and bought a Freesat box thinking I might actually watch some live TV. It turns out I don't so I've let the TV license lapse.

In addition to the Freesat box I have 2 TV sets and a media centre running Kodi that I rip all my DVDs/CDs to.

The Sat box is still connected and I use it mainly to listen to radio. It also has apps for Netflix and Amazon that I'll occasionally use. Similarly, the downstairs TV tuner is permanently on a radio station (although I seldom use the TV for radio) but do use it for Kodi/Amazon/Netflix. The second TV is in the bedroom, again tuned to the radio and I listen to this in the mornings. I also use it to view/listen to the media I have on Kodi.

Do I have to get a license?

Admin said...

Technically speaking, if you're only using a TV set to listen to radio stations and never "live" broadcast TV programmes (or BBC iPlayer on-demand) then you do not legally need a TV licence. Please see here for more info: http://tv-licensing.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/using-digital-tv-for-radio-only-no.html
Even though you're within the law, I would exercise extreme caution if you go down that route. The average TV Licensing goon will not understand this particular aspect of the legislation. If ever challenged by TV Licensing you would have to be very clear about your radio-only circumstances, otherwise they probably would attempt to prosecute.

Anonymous said...

I recently cancelled my TV licence, and on the website it says I could request a refund. So I specified a refund to New Year 2016 (I applied for the refund in early November 2017) and I included evidence - utilities bills of that period to confirm my residence. So I did not receive a reply from the customer service department as to whether or not to grant the refund. So after six weeks of silence, I rang them and asked why my refund had not been processed. They said it was because I did not specifically state that I did not watch 'streamed tv' (I watch dvds and box-sets on Now TV only).

So I wrote them a letter of formal complaint asking them why they had a customer service department when they did not actually perform that role (according to my refund letter) in addition to again requesting a refund. The refund was only granted to three months refund and not back dated any further, and the formal complaint was not responded to.

Consequently, one week after being offered the refund, I get my first threatening letter advising 'dear occupier, we will start our investigation on the 27th December.'

Do we know what is being done to overturn tv licencing laws?

Admin said...

Thanks for your comment Anon. Your situation is very typical.
The current Government - just like those before and those to follow - has no interest whatsoever in overturning TV Licensing laws.

Anonymous said...

Apologies if this question has been asked before;

We have a couple of old televisions none of which are used to watch live TV or iPlayer.

We also have a Netflix branded BluRay player that we watch DVDs and Netflix on.

The BluRay was capable of showing iPlayer by going through the menus but that was pre-sign in. We've not looked at/selected it since and don't know if it would demand a sign in (which if we weren't logged in would be useful).

We have an antenna on the roof which used to plug into an active booster/splitter. That's been disconnected and switched off although is still in situ in the loft.

Likewise the TV is not physically plugged in to the RF socket on the wall downstairs.

Our main TV died yesterday so it looks like we'll need to buy a new one.

Few questions;

If we buy a new TV from a high street retailer will they inform TV licensing (I understand they used to)?

If I never tune the TV would that be a fair defence should charges be brought?

Likewise, do all new Smart TVs require a BBC login to use iPlayer?
- If so presumably not being signed in is an equally fair defence?
- If not and the network lead is connected is there any other defence I can use (other than to tell the truth which is we never watch iPlayer)?

Would it be wise to get a family member with a TV License to purchase the TV?

Are there any non-iPlayer / non-TV monitors that you would recommend (or even exist) instead of an actual TV?

Finally, is there any sense, if TV Licensing Goons call, in letting them in and showing them my setup? I would film the whole lot but it would seem to nip any charges and search warrants in the bud..

Would be very interested and grateful in any answers or comments as this seems like a minefield for someone who doesn't watch live tv or BBC iPlayer and just wants to be left alone!! :D


Admin said...

Hello Anon and thanks for your comment.

Addressing each question in turn:

If we buy a new TV from a high street retailer will they inform TV licensing (I understand they used to)?

They shouldn't, as there is no longer any legal requirement to do so.

If I never tune the TV would that be a fair defence should charges be brought?

That indeed would be a defence, however, you do not want to end up in the situation where that defence has to be tested. Keep TV Licensing out.

Likewise, do all new Smart TVs require a BBC login to use iPlayer?
- If so presumably not being signed in is an equally fair defence?
- If not and the network lead is connected is there any other defence I can use (other than to tell the truth which is we never watch iPlayer)?

I really don't know the answer to this.

Would it be wise to get a family member with a TV License to purchase the TV?

It shouldn't make any difference, given that dealers no longer report sales to TV Licensing.

Are there any non-iPlayer / non-TV monitors that you would recommend (or even exist) instead of an actual TV?

I do not know of any, but don't claim to be an expert on the equipment side of things. It is perfectly okay to use a normal TV set as a monitor, but it is sensible to take the precaution of disconnecting the aerial lead.

Finally, is there any sense, if TV Licensing Goons call, in letting them in and showing them my setup? I would film the whole lot but it would seem to nip any charges and search warrants in the bud..

Personally, I would never allow them voluntary access. As a legitimate non-viewer you do not need to prove anything to TV Licensing or jump through its hoops. The best option is to ignore TV Licensing entirely and tell it nothing. Even friendly TV Licensing goons have the ability to stick the occupier in the back. Ultimately it's your decision whether you do/do not allow them access.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that!! Some things to think about and certainly, not letting anyone in unless you have to seems sensible when you put it like that and that's good to know re: no legal requirement for retailers to pass on details. Still, paying cash couldn't hurt :D

One thing I did do last night was used Parental Control supplied by Virgin Media to block bbc.co.uk to my house so should someone with a warrant enter I'd immediately show them that there's no way of watching iPlayer and no way of watching live tv without plugging something in that I don't have or re-enabling the website.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the information on this site. Like another poster, I was disappointed that Citizens' Advice had so little knowledge of this widespread problem.

I have only ever had a TV license for one year, 9 years ago, and have never bought a television. I haven't needed a license since 2009 because I have not owned/watched TV, streamed anything live or used BBC iPlayer since September 2016. I have (angrily) complied with the TVL's increasingly frequent and threatening demands for me to declare my innocence, most recently in January when I verbalised my resentment of this harassment over the phone.

In February I received a letter telling me TVL have opened an investigation, as if my telephone confirmation had not taken place. I ignored this letter. Today I received another one telling me they are going to visit me.

To explain my circumstances, I am a young, single woman living and working alone from my home as a self-employed tutor. I see students of all ages including young children (sometimes with their parents) at various times each weekday. I also suffer from depression and anxiety (which is particularly bad at the moment), and I rarely answer the door to unexpected callers (I have a sign in the window saying 'lessons in progress').

I am terrified that the TVL people will show up when I am teaching (in the front room, visible from the street) and/or with a parent. It's partly my fear of confrontation per se, but it would also be professionally really embarrassing. I have worried about this on a daily basis for some time now, and more so now they appear to be ramping things up.

If they get a search warrant it will look to my clients (who often wait outside in their cars) as if I'm being done for something serious. Even having the heavies visit me for suspected license evasion (however erroneous) would look really bad. I also feel anxious about having a stranger go through my house with me here alone (which I always am). I feel I can't cope with this ongoing situation, especially as I know it will just go on and on whether I respond or not.

So although I agree with the principle of not responding, and I'm heartily sick of having to think about a product and organisation that have no meaning in my life (except this very negative one), I'm feeling really vulnerable here. Any advice for me on this? Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi There,

Thank you for making this blog, it is amazing!
I was just wondering, if people can use the GDPR act and tell TV-License people to fob off.
By Law, as per GDPR you have a right to be forgotten. Which means you can ask them and they have to comply and show compliance.

Data here means Personally Identifiable Data. Name / Address / Telephone / Email / Age / Sex.

The GDPR provides the following rights for individuals:
The right to be informed.
The right of access.
The right to rectification.
The right to erasure.
The right to restrict processing.
The right to data portability.
The right to object.
Rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling.

Even if there are say 10,000 Such requests, they will have to provide so much paperwork and spend so much money in stamps to mail a copy for that data that they will soon be bankrupt! (hopefully)


So people, please go ahead and have fun, and kick start the beginning of the end of this Mafia.

Remember the TV-License Mafia & BBC needs to comply with GDPR and i did not find any compliance data on their website, so pretty sure they are not ready.

Remember : There will be two levels of fines based on the GDPR. The first is up to €10 million or 2% of the company’s global annual turnover of the previous financial year, whichever is higher. The second is up to €20 million or 4% of the company’s global annual turnover of the previous financial year, whichever is higher. The potential fines are substantial and a good reason for companies to ensure compliance with the Regulation.


Having just achieved GDPR compliance for our company i know who serious this is, so make the most of it folks. if there are back to back GDPR breaches TVLA & BBC will be hemorrhaging fine money!

Request the Blog Owner to make an article on this, and some visitors with some time and a bit of patience to drag these buggers to court.

Anonymous said...


I have a tv but never watch it I always watch only my dvd's blu-rays, Netflix or Amazon Prime, I had a visit from a BBC goon last year I did not let him in but told him about my set up he said ok & he may return in two years just to check! So does this mean I'm exempt?

Your friend.

Admin said...

If you only ever watch pre-recorded media then you do not legally require a TV licence.
Please see our Quick Guide for more information: http://tv-licensing.blogspot.com/p/quick-guide.html

Anonymous said...

Hello, does an iPad, with the facility to watch on demand services (including BBC i-player) require a licence?
If so, and the iPad actually belongs to my employer, and they have a licence (which covers their television at work), what are the rules regarding me using the iPad for on demand tv at locations other than my place of work?
Many thanks in anticipation.

Admin said...

If you actually use the iPad to watch TV programmes on any channel, or BBC iPlayer on-demand, then legally the property you are using it in needs to be covered by a valid TV licence. That is the case even if someone else owns the device you are using and that person (or entity) has their own TV licence.