Landlords And Television Licences

Date Published 13 October 2011

I was recently contacted by a landlord concerned that she could be liable for a £1000 fine from the TV licensing authority because her tenant had failed to obtain a TV licence.
I've therefore decided to clarify for landlords exactly who is responsible for paying the TV licence in respect of their rental property.
The law is clear in respect to responsibility over the payment of the TV licence. If you the landlord do not provide the TV then it's the tenant's responsibility to purchase the TV licence.
The landlord provides the TV
Where the responsibility becomes less clear is if the landlord provides the tenant with a TV. Many landlords as a gesture of good will have thrown an old TV into a rental property at some time on the basis it:
1. Makes the property more attractive to let
2. Kills two birds with one stone because the landlord had an old TV knocking around anyway so it saves you having to dispose of it or store it in the loft.
However, this act of unbridled generosity could potentially back fire on the landlord. This is because, if a landlord provides the tenant with a TV it is then the landlord's responsibility to ensure that the buy-to-let property has a valid TV Licence.
The only exception to this is if the tenancy clearly states that the tenant is responsible for buying the TV Licence. Property Hawk's FREE Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) refers to the responsibility of tenants in respect of utilities but is not specific about the TV Licence. It states in Para 3.2 in reference to the tenants responsibilities that they will guarantee:
'To pay the Council Tax and water rates in respect of the property and all gas and electricity, light and power which shall be consumed or supplied on or to the property during the Tenancy and the amount of all charges made for the use of the telephone (if any) on the property during the Tenancy or a proper proportion of the amount of the rental or other recurring charges to be assessed according to the duration of the Tenancy.'