All new companies in the United Kingdom must be registered to a UK address. This may include any house or commercial address, as long as it is in the correct region of the country. For example, if a company is registered in England and Wales then it must have a registered address in England or Wales; a company in Scotland must have its registered address in Scotland; and a company incorporated in Northern Ireland must have a registered address there.
If you are a homeowner or a residential or commercial tenant in the United Kingdom then someone may have registered a company at your address without your knowledge and/or consent. This can happen for a variety of reasons, including fraud or error.
This situation is usually discovered when letters addressed to a company or person of whom you have never heard begin to arrive at your home or office. This can be confusing and frustrating since you may not know how to deal with – or even reach – the company concerned or to stop the letters from coming.
There are steps that you can take if you think that someone has wrongfully registered a company at your address.
Contact the company or its directors
Firstly, try to find out who the company is and why they have used your address. You can do this by searching for the company by name on the Companies House website or by contacting Companies House directly. You can reach Companies House by ‘phone on +44 (0)303 1234 500 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the company is legitimate then maybe you can speak to a representative and find out why your address is being used. It may be that they have the wrong address on record, in which case you can ask them to update their records.
Apply to change a disputed registered office address
Submitting the necessary forms
If you cannot get in touch with the company, or you believe that the company is using your address fraudulently, then you can contact Companies House and ask them to change the company’s registered office and remove your address from their public record. You will need to explain why you think that your address is being used without your consent.
The form must be submitted either online through the Companies House website or else on paper which is delivered by post. Please keep in mind that paper documents sent by post take much longer to process. There is no fee to submit this form to Companies House.
Providing evidence and Companies House investigation
You must submit supporting evidence with your application. This might be a utility bill dated within the last 6 months, a land registry deed dated within the last 12 months, a written agreement allowing the applicant (i.e. you) to use the address, or other documents showing the applicant’s rights in the address, such as leasehold or freehold ownership. If you are a service provider, for example a company formation agent, then written evidence of the start and end of a contract is required.
Once you have submitted the form, Companies House will investigate the company’s use of your address. They may contact you and the company that uses the address and its officers for more information.
If they find that the company has been using your address without your consent, they will change the company’s registered office to the Companies House default address.
Once your application to change a company’s disputed registered office has been approved, the company may only use a paper Form AD01 (for companies) or Form LLAD01 (for LLPs) to update their registered office address. The company must also provide Companies House with a letter of consent from the property owner or service provider which authorises the company to use the address.
Contact Action Fraud
If you think that you have been a victim of fraud then you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre. You can do this either online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
When you contact Action Fraud, you should provide as much information as you can about the incident, including any evidence that you have collected.
You should also contact your local police station if you think that you have been a victim of crime. They may be able to investigate and take action against the individuals involved.
Keep in mind that registering a company at someone else’s address is not a crime in itself. Using a registered address for fraudulent purposes, however, is a criminal offence and can lead to prosecution.
If you think that someone has registered a company at your address then there are steps that you can take to deal with the situation. You can try to contact the company to find out why they have your address on record. If you cannot get in touch with the company, or if you believe that they are using your address fraudulently, then you can contact Companies House and ask them to remove your address from that company on the register. You should also report the incident to Action Fraud if you think that you have been a victim of fraud.
This article is intended as general information only and does not constitute legal advice. You should always consult a solicitor if you are unsure about your legal rights or obligations.
Uniwide Formations is one of the leading company formation agents in the UK, helping people to start and run their businesses. We offer a range of services, including company registration, provision of registered office address services and more. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.