What is a registered office address used for?
Every company must have a registered office address within the UK, which is used to receive official communications from government bodies, such as Companies House and HMRC. This address will also appear on the public record and is therefore often separated from the business trading premises or its officers. As a professional services provider, we offer a registered office address service with a choice of four addresses throughout the UK.
Unauthorised use of address
Occasionally we come across a company using a registered office address without authority. The implications of this can be significant and detrimental.
Until recently, there was little a professional service provider could do in response to the misuse of a registered office address. If the company’s officers did not file an official update, the only action that could be taken was for the service provider to alert Companies House of the unauthorised address use and then mark any incoming mail with ‘Return to sender.’
However, in early 2016 the Companies (Address of Registered Office) Regulations 2016 was introduced. Thankfully now there is a process in place and resolving address disputes can be as simple as filing a form with Companies House.
Dealing with disputes
To help resolve a dispute over unauthorised address use, an ‘Application to change a company’s disputed registered office address’ form (RP07) can be filed with Companies House.
In addition to the form, appropriate evidence will need to be supplied to provide reasoning for the application and support the case.
For private individuals or service providers, where the address is being used without their authority, required evidence may include:
- Documents showing the applicant’s proprietary rights in the address, eg. Freehold.
- Written agreement entitling the applicant to use the address.
- Utility bill sent to the applicant, dated within the last six months.
For service providers, where a contract has been entered into and subsequently terminated, required evidence may include:
- Written evidence of the start and termination of the contract.
- Copy of the signed contract and termination letter.
Once the application has been submitted, the registrar will notify the company whose registered office is the subject of the dispute. This notification will include anything provided in support of the application and therefore it is important to carefully consider the information supplied.
The company will then have a minimum of 28 days to respond, with an extra 7 days added for postal delays. If after this time there is no response or the registrar is satisfied that the company is not authorised to use the address, the registered office address will be changed to the Companies House default.
The introduction of the Companies (Address of Registered Office) Regulations 2016 helps provide a structured and effective way of rectifying incorrect or misleading address information on the public register. In line with the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, this suggests an ongoing commitment by the Government to ensure company information held by the registrar is legitimate.
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