Limited companies are required to provide Companies House with a registered office address. But what happens if a company wants to keep their address private or remove it from public view?
What is a registered office address?
The registered office address is the official address of a limited company. It must be submitted to Companies House which maintains it in the publicly viewable register of companies, along with other official information, such as date of incorporation and current and former directors.
Section 86 of the Companies Act 2006 states that: “A company must at all times have a registered office to which all communications and notices may be addressed.”
A registered office address must be a physical postal address (a PO box number is not sufficient).
Startups and small companies without business premises or an office (e.g. home-based enterprises) may decide to use the residential address of one of the directors as the registered office address. Although this is perfectly legitimate and may seem like the most straightforward option at first, it is important to consider the long-term privacy implications.
Is it possible to remove a registered office address from public view?
The registered office address for a company must be held on public view; it is not possible to ask Companies House to hide the current registered office address.
Although a registered office address cannot be removed from public view, it is possible to change the address. This can be done online or by submitting form AD01. It is necessary to notify Companies House of a change of registered office address within 14 days of the change taking place.
Please note, that changing the current registered office address does not remove the previous address from the company register, nor is there any way of getting an old address removed.
Once a registered office address has been submitted to Companies House, it will remain on public view, even if the address is changed. As such, it is important to carefully consider which address to provide as a registered office address when forming a company.
When can a home address be removed from the public register?
Since 2018, when the Companies (Disclosure of Address) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 came into force, it has been possible to remove most instances of residential addresses from the public register.
These regulations, which became section 1088 of the Companies Act 2006, allow company directors and certain other individuals, whose home address is publicly available on company documents, to request the removal of their home addresses from public inspection.
But it is important to note that these regulations do not apply to registered office addresses.
How can I prevent my residential address being open to public inspection?
Since a registered office address cannot be hidden from public view, even if it is changed, company directors who wish to keep their home address private should ensure they choose a different address before submitting any details to Companies House.
Companies can purchase a registered office address from a company formation agent. This is generally the best way to avoid using a residential address, especially for companies which do not have commercial business premises.