To the Legal Occupier

An envelope addressed like this was stuck in my letterbox yesterday.

I only found it when a young man called to tell me he could save me money. You know the type… a cold caller selling something or other and if you even cough they have forgotten the half learned speech that was supposed to make them a millionaire never mind save me a shilling! I usually give them their five minutes, well in other circumstances he/she might be my child desperate to get a foot on the working ladder. I never purchase items or make major changes, on the word of door to door sales people. I prefer to think things through and do some research.

Now back to the letter.

To the Legal Occupier,

Some time ago, we were advised that no TV receiving equipment was being used to receive TV programmes at this address, and therefore no TV Licence was required.

That is very true; I have had several letters and visits over the last ten years since I disposed of my telly. It is the next little bit that has me worried….

Our standard practice is to now visit your address to confirm that no type of television receiver is being used there to watch or record TV programmes as they’re being shown on TV. This includes the use of a TV set, digital box, DVD or video recorder, computer or mobile phone. Our visit should take no longer than a few minutes.

I have no TV set or digital box. I do have a computer with a DVD player in it and a mobile phone does that make me a criminal?

And bless me father, I once made a mini video (approx 1 min long) on my FinePix A330 that I uploaded to my blog!

Now if I disappear in the near future worry not, I will be staying at Her Majesty’s pleasure, three meals a day, but not at Buck House!

45 thoughts on “To the Legal Occupier

  1. I can’t believe you have to pay for TV licences. Free to air, means exactly that . . free . . .fair ‘nuf if you want to pay for Foxtel but it’s just silly. You’d better stick a bit of toast in your DVD slot so that you can prove it doesn’t work! Then again, didn’t you say you liked porridge?

  2. Baino ~ we in the UK pay a TV licence so that the BBC do not use advertising. Everyone in the South of Ireland and now across the globe, thanks to the internet, can watch BBC to their hearts content with paying a penny.

    Steph ~ I hope you bring a toyboy with you.

  3. Aren’t they devious?

    They want to make you pay a license fee if you have a VCR or DVD Recorder because both of those can receive and record a TV signal, even if you don’t have a TV on which to watch the recording.

    However, “DVD” strictly speaking refers only to the discs themselves, so borrow DVDs from all your friends (around a hundred discs should do it) and when the inspector calls round, insist that he examine each “DVD”. Threaten to report him if he doesn’t.

    As for your computer, they might be looking for two things:
    1. A TV receiver card that is physically plugged in to the back of your PC. Look for a port that has a Co-axial cable socket.
    2. The ability to watch live TV programmes on the Net.

    I didn’t realise the latter might result in a TV license, but you could uninstall your web browsers for the duration of the visit and then re-install them. Or you could hide your modem. After all, you can’t watch live programmes on the Net if you don’t have access to the Net. 🙂

  4. Grannymar….I wouldn’t worry – some friends of mine have been getting the same letters since forever now as they don’t have a television and they still have yet to be visited!! They use their computer for DVDs and stuff which is quite legal.

  5. Declan, Sam & Tony,

    I am not worried about it. I have had letters before and a visit. The second quote above is new wording. In the past it only referred to TV. My main reason for posting was to bring the change to light.

    At one point in recent years I worked for the NI Court Service and part of my duties was preparing paperwork for the Court. The last time I had a visit from the TV Licence Authority, I recognised the guy and he me, from the Courthouse! I invited him in, he took my word that I had no TV and went on his way.

  6. I always knew there was something dodgy about you, Grannymar. But I would never, never, never in a million years have thought you capable of a crime so heinous as this.

  7. i haven’t watched tv, except at my parents house, in two years. However, we do have a tv in the house (and a pretty big one at that), with no aerial, though it is only used for watching DVDs (though i’ve caught one of my housemates watching fuzzy tv a couple of times).

    Until recently I had believed that if you had a tv and only used it for watching DVDs then it was fine. That has recently been cleared up and I see it’s no longer true.

    It doesn’t stop be being pissed off at how much it is a bullshit law.
    Next year I’m going to get rid of the tv, or get housemate to pay the license, ‘cos I never watch it. I use my computer for visual needs and don’t watch to have to pay for it.

    I’m sure you wouldnt have a problem inviting someone in for some tea and convincing them you have no idea what a computer is nevermind watching tv on it 😉

  8. Primal ~ if I give you a badge will you forgive me? 😉

    Phil ~ my puter is in the living room and can be seen through a wall to wall window! I could always threaten him with my Toyboys! 🙄

  9. Dont worry GM
    I will have a helicopter at the ready and lower a rope down for you to escape.
    Your Toyboy in shining armor

    Do I need to run the escape plan by your manager Steph first?

    Seriously do not worry or be intimidated by the letter. Good suggestion by Declan

    Hang on I hear the postman coming …must dash

  10. In my opinion, TV licences are a load of cock and bull.

    A TV isn’t just used to watch channels – there’s DVD’s, games consoles, possibly your digital camera or video recorder etc. that can use your TV.

    If they want you to pay for a TV licence, they may as well just add the charge to your TV bill!

  11. Grannymar,

    Sorry, but I will have to disassociate myself from you and this blog.

    As you may know, I have made it a lifelong practice not to associate with known criminals.

    See Ya !!!!!!

  12. Granny-ma-ma-ma-ma mar-mar-Baker! Who’d have thought it?!

    Seems to me that all these ‘to the occupier’ letters are just routine circulars, sent out by local government computers to shake everyone up now and then, because since they’re always leaving their laptops in taxi’s and on trains etc. they don’t have anyone on file anymore. Return it to sender, telling them you and your house are just a figment of their imagination! (But don’t use your comp to type it…!!)

  13. Not more fecking letters from them? All this crap after repeatedly proving to them you don’t have a TV.

    If they drop round and start harassing you then just call me immediately and put them on the phone to me. I’ll soon persuade them about the charges of harassment of the elderly that I’ll bring and make sure they never turn up again!

    Your set up is perfectly legit, you have no TV tuner card. Anything you watch on BBC online doesn’t count and they can’t force you to buy a licence for watching legally purchased DVD’s on your PC.

    I’ll get that laptop sorted out sooner rather than later, then they won’t be able to see anything when looking through the window.

  14. whenever the analogue signal is turned off and everyone is using digital there will be no way to get a signal without paying a digital provider (virgin, sky etc), so surely the tv license can a) be abolished – who’s gonna watch bbc when there are 300 other channels! or b) be worked into the monthly fee for the digital.

    of course the latter makes it too easy for them to get money and not the best of ideas but if they have to do it…
    i still wont be watching any.

  15. Phil, why do you say that it’s no longer true that you don’t need a license if you’re only using the TV to watch DVDs?

    The BBC’s website on this states that you don’t (albeit buried really deeply). If you go to and find document SR2006000623 – TV Licence Requirements (it’s a PDF), one of the questions there is:

    ‘Is a TV licence required for a television that is used for playing DVDs and videos (i.e. not for receiving or recording broacasts)?’ and they answer that it is not.

    This was in November 2007.


    (Hopefully this comment gets through; my last one appears to have been trapped somewhere)

  16. Mike ~ My Hero!

    Chris D ~ I don’t have a TV plain and simple.

    Nancy ~ Please give me a second chance. We would miss you!

    Geri ~ You got it in one! No laptops left in these Gov offices to surf the net so they take it out on Jo/e Public.

    Elly ~ Thanks, but at this stage I still fight my own battles, now when I get old….

    Phil ~ I honestly think that the days are numbered for TV Licences.

    Tony ~ Apologies for losing you. Spam box was full of revolting hairy rubbish or games for contortionists as far as I could see. You didn’t did you? 😉

    I will print out that comment and have it at the ready behind the barricade.

  17. By jaysus I hate the TV licence thing. We pay so much for the TV service we have (Chorus) that I begrudge having to pay anymore to subsidise the woeful service offered by RTE Television.

  18. I dont mind paying the tv license cause I have a digital box that gives me all the movie channels etc for free. 😀

    I dont think I could live without the sports channels (I am football mad)

  19. I hate paying the TV licence too, it’s just not worth the money. We got rid of all our channels and only have the four Irish ones now, but we only turn on the TV when there is something specific that we want to watch. We use it for DVD’s all the time though and my better half uses it for games consoles.

  20. I dunno…

    I’ve been out all day doing my civic duty and I come home to talk of heinous crimes, known criminals, hairy rubbish, dodgy people and even a Toyboy in shining armour!

    What have you been up to? Grannymar 🙄

    If the man does call to your door, simply turn on your Toyboy charm and the pleasure will be all yours …. not Her Majesty’s 😆

  21. I will be seeing stitches in my dreams.

    Now what has been happening here… ?

    Oh dear! The manager is back so we will have to quiet down a little 🙄

    Hello Manager Steph 😀

  22. The helicopter has been “grounded” for technical reasons but dont worry GM plan B is in full swing.
    I’ve borrowed a crane some rope and a bucket. The crane will lift me up over the wall and I will bungee jump to your rescue, ready to grab you into my arms and lift you away to freedom.
    Manager Steph I’m sure will give the plan her full apppoival
    Your adoring Toyboy in shinning armor

  23. Yeah, well, okay. Suppose so.

    Meself, I’ll stick to harmless child trafficking and drug dealing though. You’re not getting me involved with unlicensed TV’s though – badge, or no badge.

  24. To lift me up over the wall.I get into the bucket, the crane lifts the bucket over the wall and then I will bungee jump out of it to your rescue
    Be ready my dearest

  25. Primal ~ I might need your help here… Mike is a little over excited. I think he is more than a bit over excited because now he can’t remember his own name! 😆

    Mike ~ be careful I don’t want you falling out of the bucket!

  26. For cryin’ out loud, that’s a heavy message to be sure. Can they really invade your privacy like that. What are they going to do – turn your house upside down, pull up floorboards, pull your sofa apart, etc etc.

    If its any consolation, those tv licence people are just as bad down here in the south. I moved into my apartment about 4 years ago, a couple of days after moving in, tv licence guy knockded on the door, The fact that no signal was coming into the tv, that I had precious little furniture, that I was surrounded by mountains of cardboard boxes with my worldy positions in was neither here nor there. He told me he would do me a favour this time and not shop me (ta!). A few days later I get a nasty pay-up-or-else letter int he post. And what was I paying for – “the woeful service offered by RTE Television” (ta Darren) which I dont watch much anyhow – back to BCC now to catch up with the tennis…..

  27. I actually think the pressure to collect licences are due to falling numbers.

    For a while, landline numbers were falling as renters didn’t want to have a landline.
    And if you have broadband, you tend to watch less TV… I moved house and decided not to get a TV until I finished watching my DVD backlog.

    Backlog barely dented, but youtube is very very good.

    So the pressure is on to get these “defaulters” who don’t even have the equipment.

  28. ♫ A bucket just made for two! ♫

    Charmed ~ they ask, if you refuse the can then get a warrant to search. I have no TV and nothing to hide.

    Will ~ I think they are rolling lists pulled out at regular intervals when general work is not busy.

    I also think that TV retailers are under obligation to furnish the TV Licensing Authority of details for each purchase.

  29. Hey Ho!
    I’m scratching my head here. The licence as I understand it licences you to receive broadcasts. If you can prove that you do not receive T V broadcasts then you do not have to have a licence.

    You may have the equipment but if you do not use it or are unable to then you do not need a licence.

    I am sure that there was a court case in the not too distant pst that hinged around this.

    I’m going to do some digging. Meanwhile I’ll forward you a story that might illustrate the principle of having equipment but not intending to use it…..It might give everyone a laugh!

    By the way Aly found Belfast very small and says it reminded him of Adelaide only greener!

  30. I’m back!

    Please Miss,

    Your Manager got dragged off to go boozing… I was kicking and screaming…honest!

    And No… I didn’t come home in a bucket and I can still spell! 👿

  31. Off the Licensing website

    Do I need a TV Licence?

    You need a TV Licence to use any television receiving equipment such as a TV set, digital box, DVD or video recorder, PC, laptop or mobile phone to watch or record television programmes as they’re being shown on TV.

    If you use a digital box with a hi-fi system or another device that can only be used to produce sounds and can’t display TV programmes, and you don’t install or use any other TV receiving equipment, you don’t need a TV Licence.

    Relevant phrases

    Para 1 “as they’re being shown on TV”

    This also means that you can safely use the iViewer facility

    Para 2 “or use any other TV receiving equipment.”

    I’m sure that this means that “they” have to prove that you are using it for viewing or recording.

    IIRC this is what the case I was thinking of hung on…..

    I’ll bet that copyright laws would come into play if ,say, I recorded a programme and lent you the tape!

    S far so good

  32. Magpie ~ Thanks for that.

    Steph ~ You should have brought me with you and saved me from buckets , cranes and ropes! 🙄

  33. Don’t even get me started on the horrendous concept that it the RTE TV licence. I am even to angry to get into it at this hour of the night. Grr Argh!!!

  34. Steph ~ were you trying to give me nightmares? Bungee Jumping…. I am so not sure about it!

    Lottie ~ my furniture is far too polite to point 🙄
    It faces the open fireplace where I light a nice warming fire in wintertime.

  35. Wow! What a thread.

    For myself I choose NOT to have the other 300 channels!
    We did try a freeview gadget but that was slow and often the picture was broken and it interfered with the analogue services. We’re back to five channels and happy.

    I do not object to paying my licence fee as it gives me two TV channels , Radios Four and Three and the BBC Web services all without the commercials!….so often banal …. to be polite.

  36. Magpie

    I would willingly pay IF I had, watched or was a fan of TV. I am not and told the licence folk that, all I want is for them to leave me alone.

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