Hotels and guest houses urged to make sure they’re correctly licensed

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WITH the upcoming school half-term holidays and Valentine’s Day providing Brits with the first big opportunity of the year to ‘get away from it all’, TV Licensing and the British Hospitality Association are urging hotels and guest houses in Wisbech to make sure they are correctly licensed.

As with other businesses, all hotels and guest houses where customers or staff are watching or recording TV programmes as they are broadcast, must be covered by a valid TV Licence.

The good news for managers and owners is that a single licence covers the first 15 rooms on any one site. For the vast majority this means they only need to pay £145.50 for a year, the same amount as a private house. For those hotels and guesthouses that have more than 15 accommodation units, there is an additional fee for every five extra units.

TV Licensing enquiry officers will be out visiting unlicensed premises throughout February, and anyone found watching TV illegally risks a court prosecution and fine of up to £1,000 per offence, plus costs.

Officers use a database of almost 30 million UK addresses to identify premises where they suspect people are using TV illegally. During the past two years TV Licensing caught more than 2,700 businesses not covered by a valid licence.

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “With families making the most of the half term holiday, and couples booking romantic weekend breaks away, February is a busy time for hotel and guest house owners. That’s why it is really important to get organised as soon as possible, and make sure you are correctly licensed, rather than risk a fine of up to £1,000.

“We know that most people want to stay within the law, and it is important to ensure you are covered for the coming weeks and months ahead.”

Mark Whitehouse, TV Licensing spokesperson for East Anglia, said: “As well as the usual busy holiday periods, the London Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations are taking place this year, meaning 2012 is likely to be an especially busy year for hotels and guesthouses.

“By making sure they are correctly licensed now, owners and managers will give themselves peace of mind for the year ahead and avoid the risk of a visit from an enquiry officer.

“We would always rather people pay for their TV Licence than risk a prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000. Managers can get in touch with our hotels team if they have any questions by calling 0300-7906124 or find out more at www.tvlicensing.co.uk/hotels.”

This licence covers all equipment provided by the hotel/accommodation owner. It does not cover the use of any TV set or other device which is not provided by the proprietor of the accommodation, such as a tablet or laptop, which would need to be covered by a separate TV Licence.