A company registered office address is a physical address used for correspondence that must be provided to Companies House when setting up a limited company or limited liability partnership (LLP) and maintained throughout the life of the company.
As a company owner, it is important to understand your legal obligations when it comes to your registered office address and the implications of this information being publicly available. This article will explain the purposes of a company registered office address, the rules for registered office addresses, how to change a registered office address, and how to keep your registered office address private.
What is a company registered office address?
Maintaining a registered office address is a legal requirement of the Companies Act 2006. Part 6, section 86 of the Companies Act 2006 states, “A company must at all times have a registered office to which all communications and notices may be addressed”.
A registered address serves as the primary location for receiving statutory company correspondence, legal documents, and any form of written communication. This ensures that official agencies such as Companies House and HMRC have a proper address able to receive secure postal correspondence. Registered company addresses are also where the company’s documents and registers are stored for inspection unless they choose to use a single alternative inspection location (SAIL) address (a registered office address is different from your SAIL address).
It is important to note that your registered office address will be publicly visible on the online Companies House register and cannot be removed.
What are the rules for a registered office address?
Your company’s registered office address must be a physical address located in the UK and within the same country where your company is registered (i.e. England and Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland).
It is not possible to use a PO Box: the rules state that you must still provide a physical address to Companies House. Using either a residential or non-residential address as your registered office address is possible.
Can I change a company registered office address?
Yes, part 6 section 87 of the Companies Act 2006 states, “A company may change the address of its registered office by giving notice to the registrar”. The process of changing your registered office address can be completed online.
Remember, while you can change your registered office address, any previously registered office addresses you have used will remain on the Companies House public register for the remaining lifetime of the company (and 20 years after the company has been dissolved).
Finally, you will need to change the registered office address wherever it is displayed, including on your stationery, emails, sales brochures, business cards, receipts, order forms, and websites. The rules also state that you must clearly display your company’s registered name on a sign at your new registered office.
Should I use my home address as a registered office address?
Yes, it is possible to use a residential or non-residential (i.e. commercial) address for your registered office address, but many company owners prefer not to. As Companies House explains, “If you use a sensitive address like your home address as your company’s registered office or SAIL, it’ll be available to the public. You cannot remove a registered office or SAIL address from the public register, even if it’s your home address”.
There are several advantages of not using your home address as your registered office address. By using a commercial address, you remove the potential for unwanted visitors. It is also important to bear in mind that your registered office address reflects the physical presence of your company.
Using a residential home address as your main company location may be off-putting to customers, investors, and other entities you want to do business with. Having a commercial location as your registered office address will help to enhance your company’s trustworthiness, credibility, prestige, and professional image.
Many business people also prefer to use a commercial address as their registered office address as it clearly separates their professional life from their personal/home life. It also means you will not be inconvenienced with company mail and deliveries at home.
If you do not have commercial premises you can use, you do not need to use your home address. You may consider using the address of your accountant or a company formation agent such as Uniwide Formations. If you plan to use an address that is not yours, you must gain permission before you register your company.
Do I need to get permission to use my home address as a registered office address?
You may need permission to use your home address as a registered office address. This may be the case if you rent your home or if you have a restrictive covenant on a property you own that prohibits its use for business purposes. If you rent your home, you may need permission from your landlord, housing provider, or your local authority.
If you rent or live in social housing, it is advisable to read your tenancy agreement before proceeding, as this may explain if you are restricted from using your home for business purposes. If you apply for permission from your local authority or housing provider, they may refuse your request if they have concerns that running a business from home may disturb your neighbours, damage the property, or if it represents a material change to the use of the property. You may also need to pay business rates if any part of your home is used exclusively for business use.
Statutory documents that must be kept at your registered company address
Companies are required to keep certain statutory records and registers at their registered office address unless they use a SAIL address. Some of the statutory documents that may need to be stored and available for inspection at your registered office address include the following:
- Copies of resolutions
- Directors’ indemnities
- Directors’ service contracts
- Instruments creating charges and register of charges
- Minutes of meetings
- Register of applications and allotments Definition
- Register of company directors
- Register of company secretaries
- Register of debenture holders
- Register of members
- Register of People with Significant Control, and
- Share ownership contracts
The rules state that statutory documents can be stored in hard copy (i.e. physical versions contained in a binder) or in digital form.
Given that your company’s registered office address is made publicly available on the Companies House register of companies, it is important to consider which address you use. Using your home address as your registered office address may come at a cost to your personal privacy and work/life separation.
You may also need to request permission from your landlord before registering your home address. Using a commercial address will protect your home address while providing a physical presence for your company that inspires confidence and trust for customers, suppliers, and investors.
Unless you intend to use a SAIL address, the requirement to have your business name visible and to have all of your statutory documents stored and available for inspection at any time means that using a home address is simply not practical or convenient for many business owners.
You may choose as a Registered Office Address either:
- your home address or trading address (if you have separate work premises for your company) or:
- to purchase our Registered Office Address service.
A Further Advantage
A further advantage that you may wish to consider is that the address which your company formation agents can provide, for any or all of the purposes outlined above, may be far more prestigious than your company’s actual address, helping to project your corporate image at a higher level.
A company address in Kensington, for example, is highly desirable for this reason, which is why we are pleased to offer you this – in addition to all of our other services and advantages.
If you would like to learn more about registered office addresses, or if you would like to take advantage of our company formation services, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our team would be more than happy to assist you further.