A registered office address is a legal requirement of all registered companies and partnerships incorporated in the UK. Its purpose is to provide Companies House, HMRC and other government bodies with an official address for delivering statutory mail and legal notices, as well as for storing the company’s statutory registers for inspection. It does not need to be in the same part of the country where your main trading activities are carried out, but does need to be a full, physical postal address in the same jurisdiction of the UK where your company is registered (England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland). Both residential and non-residential addresses are permitted, but many people prefer to keep their home details private.
- Why do I need a registered office for a limited company?
- Do I need a registered office for a limited liability partnership?
- Can I use my home address as a registered office?
- What is the difference between a registered office and a directors’ service address?
- What is the difference between a registered office and a business address?
- Can I use a PO Box number as a registered office?
- Can I use a council house as a registered office?
- Can I move my company’s registered office to a different country?
- Can I change my registered office after company formation?
- How to change a registered office address after company formation
- Where to display registered office details
- The statutory records you must keep at a registered office address
- 1st Formations London Registered Office Service
Why do I need a registered office for a limited company?
- Legally required under UK company law.
- Official contact address for official government mail.
- Details are placed on public record to create corporate transparency.
- Statutory records and registers must be kept and made available for inspection at the registered office.
You can change your registered office at any time, as long as it stays in the same UK country.
Do I need a registered office for a limited liability partnership?
Yes. In order to form an LLP, you must have a registered office in the UK jurisdiction in which the partnership is incorporated – England and Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
Can I use my home as a registered office?
You may use your home for this purpose but it is not mandatory, nor is it the best choice. Ideally, you should use a non-residential address for reasons of privacy and professionalism.
The benefits of a non-residential registered office:
- Due to the public disclosure of corporate information, the use of a residential address could result in unwanted visitors and unsolicited mail at your home.
- A non-residential address in a prestigious location will appeal to a larger consumer base and discerning investors.
- More likely to be perceived as an established, credible business if you have a professional registered office address.
- Draws a clear line between work life and home life.
- A prominent city location enables new and small firms to expand their geographical reach. This is particularly beneficial for those based in small towns or remote areas.
What is the difference between a registered office and a service address?
A registered office is the official address of a limited company. Correspondence and legal notices from UK government agencies are delivered there. A service address is the nominated contact location of an individual director, LLP member, company secretary, subscriber or Person with Significant Control (PSC), where he or she will receive personal statutory mail from government agencies, such as Companies House and HMRC.
Both are required under UK company law and displayed on the central public register, however, unlike a registered office, a service address can be anywhere in the world. If you wish, you can use the same postal address as your registered office and service address.
What is the difference between a registered office and a business address?
As the official address of your company, only statutory mail from government agencies is delivered to the registered office. A business address, on the other hand, is used as a contact point for all other kinds of correspondence from clients, suppliers and other third parties.
Companies that operate in different areas of the UK and/or overseas may have multiple business addresses to establish a presence in each of these places.
There is no legal requirement to have a business address that matches your registered office, but you can certainly use the same address for both purposes as long as it meets the required criteria of a registered office.
1st Formations offers a prestigious registered office location in Covent Garden, London. It is also available as a Service Address and a Business Address Service. These facilities can be added during the company formation process, or they can be purchased for an existing company at any time.
Our London Registered Office is only suitable for companies incorporated in England and Wales. However, our Business Address Service is ideal for companies formed in all parts of the UK. Our Service Address is suitable for all persons who require one. To find out more about our London business address, please click here.
Can I use a PO Box number as a registered office?
Whilst you cannot use a PO Box Number as your registered you can use a PO Box address if you provide Companies House with the full, physical postal address.
Can I use a council house as a registered office?
Companies House will accept any residential or non-residential address as a registered office, as long as the full postal address is provided and it is situated in the same UK jurisdiction where the company is incorporated.
If you rent your home from a private landlord or the council, you will have to get their permission before you can use your home as a registered office. This should not pose any problems unless the activities you’re carrying out at the property are likely to cause a nuisance to neighbours, be offensive to the eye or potentially hazardous to the property, or result in people coming and going from the property at all hours of the day/night. Such business use is not considered ‘reasonable’ and would be refused by your landlord or local authority. Furthermore, you will probably not be allowed to put up advertisements at the property.
Applying for permission
To apply to your local council, you will have to send a written request to the head of the relevant housing authority and provide full details of (where applicable): planned business use; any planned changes or alterations to the property; the erection of sheds or outbuildings; any commercial vehicles that you will use; and the hours and level of noise resulting from business use.
You should not start running a business from your council property until you have received written permission from the head of your housing service and, if applicable, the head of the planning department. You may also have to pay business rates if you use any part of the property exclusively for business use, or you have modified a section of the property for this reason. However, each case is considered on an individual basis and will depend on the regulations of your local authority or housing association.
What happens if your request is denied?
If you are not permitted to use your home as a registered office, you can purchase one from an online company formation agent. Many people find this option more favourable because it protects their privacy.
Can I move my company’s registered office to a different country?
Although Companies House is the Registrar of Companies for the whole of the UK, they do operate in three separate jurisdictions – England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland – each of which is governed by a different judicial system. If a company is involved in any legal proceedings, the case will be presided over by the Court of the governing jurisdiction in accordance with the Companies Act 2006. For this reason, a registered office can only be located in the country in which you incorporate your company.
You can move a registered office in England to an address in Wales, and vice versa, but this is the only exception to the rule because these two countries fall under a single jurisdiction (unless you have registered your company in “England only” or “Wales only”, in which case the Members of the Company will need to approve the relocation to another country. In all other cases, you can certainly change your registered office but you cannot move it to another country after company formation.
Companies and partnerships may, however, trade in all three jurisdictions. A good idea would be to set up a business address in another country (or countries) to expand the geographical reach or your trading activities.
Can I change my registered office address?
Yes, you can change it at any time, as long as it stays in the same part of the UK. You must notify Companies House as soon as possible if your registered office moves.
These details will be updated on the public register within approximately 24 hours. You must ensure all statutory records are moved to the new registered office, unless a SAIL address is used instead.
How to change a registered office
You can change it at any time, as long as it stays in the same part of the UK where the company is incorporated. You must notify Companies House as soon as possible. To do so, the directors of the company need to approve the change, and you should then complete and file Form AD01 (for companies) or Form LLAD01 (LLPs) via WebFiling or 1st Formations free Online Company Manager.
Companies House will verify the new address on the Post Office database so you must provide the full address and include the correct postcode. If your new registered office address is suitable, the change will be approved. The public register will be updated within approximately 24 hours. Your new address will not take effect until Companies House enters it into their database, so do not update any of your stationery or move your statutory records until the change has been officially approved.
Where to display registered office details
You must display it on all forms of official stationery, including emails, brochures and websites.
In addition to stationery, you must clearly and continuously display your company’s full name on a sign at your registered business office, unless it’s primarily used as a residential address or your company has been dormant since incorporation.
The statutory records you must keep at a registered office address
Private limited companies must keep some or all of their statutory records at their registered office, unless they are stored at a SAIL address instead. These include the certificate of incorporation, the memorandum and articles of association and share certificates (if applicable).
Furthermore, the following records and registers, where applicable, must be kept up-to-date and stored at the registered office or SAIL address for inspection purposes:
- Register of members.
- Register of company directors.
- Register of secretaries.
- Register of People with Significant Control.
- Directors’ service contracts.
- Directors’ indemnities – security against liability claims or legal costs.
- Copies of resolutions.
- Minutes of meetings.
- Contracts relating to purchase of own shares.
- Documents relating to redemption or purchase of own shares out of capital by private company.
- Register of debenture holders.
- Instruments creating charges and register of charges
These records may be kept in hard-copy format in a bound or loose-leaf book, or they can be kept in digital format. Any additional registers your company maintains in addition to the statutory registers (for example, the register of allotments), should also be kept here.
1st Formations London Registered Office Service
1st Formations provides a prominent London registered office address in the heart of Covent Garden, which is suitable for any company registered in England and Wales. This service is available for £39.00 per year and includes the scanning and emailing of all official government mail to you, within 1 working day, free of charge.
A number of our company formation packages include this service as standard, but it is possible to purchase our registered office service separately for a new or existing company in England and Wales.
Our Covent Garden address is also available as a Service Address for £26.00 per year, and a Business Address Service for £96.00, which is ideal as a prestigious business address.