How to stop paying the TV Licence. Is it possible to avoid paying for the TV Licence?
Yes, it is, and I’m going to show you how.
First, we should cover who legally doesn’t need to pay the TV Licence, or TV Tax as I prefer to call it.
In the UK, there are certain groups of people who are exempt from paying the TV licence fee. These include:
- People aged 75 or over who receive Pension Credit.
- People who are blind or severely sight impaired.
- People who live in residential care homes or nursing homes.
- People who are in prison.
- Armed forces personnel living in military accommodation.
- Students who only watch live TV on devices powered solely by their own internal batteries and are not plugged into an aerial or mains socket at the time.
- People who only use their TV to watch on-demand services and do not watch or record live TV.
Having satisfied yourself you are exempt, you can certainly stop paying the TV Licence, and you probably want to stop the flood of threatening letters and goons from Capita masquerading as “enforcement officers” knocking on your door hoping to sell you one too, right?
What follows isn’t information I have just cribbed online (although I did research online of course) – this is what I have actually done myself, and I have been free of the ‘We’re watching you’ letters and goons thumping on the door since 2015.
Now there’s two things you need to know: if you subscribe to a service such as Sky, or buy a TV or any equipment that can receive live TV signals at a retailer, they will ask for your name and address. They will pass that along to the TV Licensing people and they will know you are able to receive live TV and start demanding money with menaces.
Some people apparently choose to give an alternative name and address for such things for reasons of privacy. By so doing, your actual address isn’t passed along in that way.
The next thing you need to familiarise yourself with is a little piece of law called “implied right of access”. This is what you are going to use to stop the TV Licensing harassment.
The implied right of access is a legal principle in the UK that allows people to enter or approach private property without the owner’s permission in certain circumstances (which includes knocking on the door and writing to you). The principle is based on the idea that permission to access is implied, even if the owner has not given explicit permission.
For example, utility companies such as gas and electricity suppliers have an implied right of access to private properties in order to maintain or repair their equipment. The police, fire brigade and ambulance service have an implied right of access to private property in cases of emergency, in order to save lives or prevent serious harm.
The same implied right of access applies to the milkman or postman (who delivers the threatening TV Licensing letters) and the Capita “enforcement officers” who come thumping on your door.
However, if you explicitly withdraw that right of access to TV Licensing, if they then ignore it, they are trespassing. And for that, you can theoretically seek damages from them.
But they won’t ignore it. If you withdraw their rights of access, they will go away.
Here is a BBC internal document I discovered online that demonstrates their internal policy when permission to access a property is withdrawn in this way. BBC Internal Document – Stop Paying the TV Licence (clicking the link will open a PDF in a new tab)
So you’ll need to write to them to withdraw their implied rights of access to your property (which includes writing to you). You don’t need to give your name as you have no contract with them, you are simply “the occupier”. Grab a reference number from their last bit of threatening junk mail pertaining to your address if possible.
Here’s the letter I used: TVL letter (clicking that link will download a Word document you can edit according to your needs).
Edit that letter to add your address and a property reference number if you have one. Print it, sign it with a squiggle and send it to them by Recorded Delivery.
You should receive a confirmation back. Clicking the link will open a PDF in a new tab of the actual letter I received back in response to my letter: TVL Confirmation Letter
And that is all there is to it. The letters stopped, the door-knocking goons stopped, and I am no longer helping to fund the BBC bias, Gary Lineker’s £1.35m salary, or all the woke nonsense that Clarkson endured for 25 years. I am free!
You can be free too. You too can legally stop paying the BBC TV Licence.
Caveat: I gather the trespass laws in Scotland differ so this may not work in Scotland.
And don’t give any thought to nonsense like TV detector vans. There are none today. There have been no real TV detector vans for decades, TV technology has moved on. If you hear of such a thing now, it’s a PR stunt to frighten people into thinking they could be detected and then pursued for not having a TV licence. It was a thing in the 50s and 60s, they had a few vans sign written in the 70s and 80s to scare a few people, but it’s not a thing today in a post-VHF and UHF signal world. Take it from me: they don’t exist today.
Their information comes from Capita “enforcement officers” (who are actually nothing of the sort – never engage with them or let them in) and any confessions/sales they can obtain, and databases such as Sky and TV retailers. The rest is letters and scare tactics hoping you’ll comply.
They claim that they will contact you in two years once more. They haven’t contacted me again in eight years. At least, not by mail. I have no way of knowing if their goons called as I have big drive gates and no external doorbell.
However, before I had those, I had one of these printed and laminated and fixed in the porch window: BEFORE YOU CALL HERE (Clicking that will download a little notice as a Word document to deter undesirables) – it worked a treat to deter salespeople and other people you do not want to engage with. Like TV Licensing goons. Even if one does knock, you point to it, say nothing, and close the door. But TV Licence goons are trained about rights of access and trespass, so they will walk away too.
Of course, if you have a pavement-fronted terraced house with a big TV in the front window belting out Match of the Day live, this may not work. But for everyone else, this should work nicely. At least until such time as the archaic BBC TV tax is rescinded and the BBC goes to a subscription model and a BBC TV Licence is no longer a thing.
Questions, corrections, experiences and comments can be left below.
Interact with the author on Twitter here: @ruadventures