Have you ever wondered who is actually responsible for the television licence for your rental property?
The law states that if the landlord doesn’t provide a TV, then the responsibility for purchasing a licence lies with the tenant.
The rules, according to TV Licensing, state that
You need to make sure that the property is covered by a valid TV Licence if you have provided a means for your tenants to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV. This includes the use of devices such as a TV, computer, mobile phone, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.
The TV Licence is your responsibility if you installed the TV, unless the tenancy agreement specifies that it’s the tenants’ responsibility.
Did you leave/provide a TV in the Property?
Where it becomes more ambiguous is when a landlord leaves an old TV in a rental property to help it let more quickly, or simply to avoid the hassle of having to get rid of it themselves.
Don’t be tempted to do this out of the kindness of your heart though, because it may come back to bite you. If you, as landlord, provide a tenant with a TV it is then your responsibility to make sure that the property has a valid TV licence.
There is only one exception to this, which is if the tenancy agreement states clearly that the TV licence is the responsibility of the tenant.
The TV licensing body also states however, that “Tenants including student tenants should ensure that a TV used in a rental property is properly licensed, even if it is supplied by the landlord.” So they aren’t totally absolved of responsibility.
If you are a landlord with a property which has a number of tenants who have a joint tenancy agreement, then only one TV licence is deemed necessary. If each tenant has their own separate tenancy agreement, such as in an HMO (house-in-multiple-occupancy), then you would be expected to provide a separate licence for each of the tenants.
Can you charge the tenant for the TV Licence?
There is a get around for landlords who may have left a TV in their property and that is to absorb the cost onto the tenant, such as charging a slightly higher rent or possibly as a service charge based on the costs of dealing with paying the TV licence.
Lodgers and TV Licenses
If you have a lodger, or lodgers, whether it is a private agreement or under the Government’s rent a room scheme, each of them will have to have their own TV licence if they have a TV in their room.
The only possible exceptions to this are if the lodger is in a relationship with you and living in the house, the lodger is an au pair/cook/housekeeper and as such employed by the household, or the lodger is a member of your family.
Disclaimer: I'm just a landlord blogger; I'm 100% not qualified to give legal or financial advice. I'm a doofus. Any information I share is my unqualified opinion, and should never be construed as professional legal or financial advice. You should definitely get advice from a qualified professional for any legal or financial matters. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.