Navigating the Paper Mess

NCH Student Blog | October 18, 2019

Moving to London is definitely wonderful, but one of the downsides is common to moving into a new home, no matter where it is: the paper mess. This blog is designed to help you deal with all the letters you are getting, especially after you move out of student halls in your first year. No guarantee that all this information is correct, but it worked for me.

  1. The scary “We opened an investigation against you” letter. You’re getting this letter if you have ignored one or two previous letters about the TV license. Don’t worry, no one will actually come around to your place to check in, especially if you’re living in student accommodation (all those doors have to be good for something, right?). All you have to do to not get these letters anymore is to go to and tell them you don’t need a TV license. If you do want one, it’s easy too but it’s a bit pricey, around 150£ for the year.
  2. The Council Tax letter. Now this one is actually important. A friend of mine ignored hers for too long and nearly ended up going to court. Don’t worry, as students we are all exempt from Council Tax, and if you’re living in student accommodation it’s super easy to get out of it. Just follow the instructions in the letter, I think you literally only have to check a box on their website. If you live in your own place, however, it is a little more complex, you have to hand in evidence that you really are a student. Still, no big deal, just make sure you get it done fairly soon.
  3. One last one: your voting letter. Even if you’re not British, you can still take part in general elections and you definitely should. And if you are British, you will probably prefer to vote here in London and not at home – therefore, register yourself. You can do it online, just type in some information, including your national insurance number. Everyone who grew up in Britain has one. If that’s not the case for you, you might have one from applying for student loans or if you work somewhere parttime. If you don’t have one, you can apply for it, it takes a bit of time but it’s fairly straight forward and it’s very helpful for all kinds of British paper things.

When it comes to dealing with the paper mess in general, just remember that you’re not the only one who’s confused. As a rule of thumb, just open the letters fairly soon and then follow their steps one by one.