A guide to TV licences for hospitality businesses. Do i need a TV Licence?

Do I need a TV licence at my B&B?

A guide to TV licences for hospitality businesses
A guide to TV licences for hospitality businesses

Do I need a TV Licence at my B&B?

Hotels, hostels, campsites and mobile units must be covered by a TV Licence if staff or customers watch or record TV on any channel via any TV service such as Sky, Virgin, Freeview or Freesat.

They must also have a licence if they or their guests watch live on streaming services such as ITV Hub, All 4, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Now or Sky Go, of if they use BBC iPlayer.

This applies to any device, including a TV, computer, laptop, phone, tablet, games console or digital box.

A licence is not needed to watch S4C programmes on demand.

If you’re sure you don’t need a licence then get in touch with TV Licensing.

What type of TV licence do I need for my B&B?

A single TV Licence costing £159 will cover up to 15 accommodation units on a single site. If you have more than 15 units, there is an additional fee for every five extra units or fewer.

Mobile units, or other areas where a TV receiver is installed or used, must also be covered by a TV Licence.

Cost of a hotel and mobile units TV Licence

Your licence fee will be based on the number of accommodation or mobile units you offer where a TV receiver is installed or used.

To cover up to 15 units

You only need to pay one fee of £159

To cover more than 15 units

You pay one fee for the first 15 units and an additional fee of £159 for every extra 5 units (or fewer).

Apply for a hotel and mobile units TV Licence

Complete the online form, print and return it to:

TV Licensing
Payments and Commercial Licensing
Darlington
DL98 1TL

Refunds for hotel TV Licence

A refund is available if it has been purchased in error or if the hotel is closing down. The TV Licence must not be needed again during the licence period and refunds will be paid for unused months.

To apply for a refund please write to:

Hotels and Company Group Licensing Department
TV Licensing
Darlington
DL98 1TL

Please use your hotel headed paper and include relevant evidence of the hotel’s closure, such as a bill of sale or final utility bill.

Further information
Take a look at TV Licensing FAQs where you may find all the answers you are looking for in one place.

Reader’s question from Rushop Hall B&B in the Peak District

Co-owner Neil Allcock writes to ask about the apparent requirement for an MPLC (Motion Picture Licensing Company) TV Licence for copyright protection for television content.  He asks if there is a requirement for anyone who has a TV in a guest bedroom, bar, restaurant or other similar area that shows television programmes or film content in a public place to have an MPLC licence as well as a TV Licence, similar to the requirement for a PRS/PPL TV Licence for music and sound recordings.

David Weston, chairman of the B&B Association (BBA) says that unfortunately this is a complex issue. He replies:

MPLC do indeed seem to have the law on their side (they are using similar legal justifications to those of PRS and PPL), but the copyright law in the UK is complex and illogical in this area, and without test cases nobody can be sure what a court would decide.  The law in this area is archaic and certainly urgently needs reform.

The law does appear to allow what MPLC are doing (and indeed PRS & PPL), so we cannot of course advise members not to pay.

The issue of council tax or business rates, incidentally, is not relevant here.  The law at present holds that playing copyright material – even via a TV – to a paying guest in accommodation such as a hotel, guesthouse or B&B constitutes a “public performance” for the purposes of copyright. It is the very fact that the guest is paying that is crucial. Information about MPLC’s concessions during lockdowns, which were granted in 2020 following our representations, can be found on our member page. Members can log in with their password for this kind of inside info

Neither The BBA nor UK Hospitality are happy with the way MPLC go about things, and we are trying to challenge the basis on which they charge, as well as some of their methods. UK

Hospitality are leading on this and we will keep subscribing members advised as any new developments happen.

We are aware of businesses that say they will not pay MPLC’s fees, but we do not know how MPLC is going to approach enforcement, or whether they will want to see a test case.

Meanwhile we advise every business to insist that MPLC detail how they are arriving at the charges, by reference to their public tariffs. From the tariff we have seen, the charge should be around £6 per letting bedroom.

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About Dominic Johnson 344 Articles
Publisher, contact dominic@miramedia.co.uk about all commercial enquiries.