What is a default Registered Office Address and why are they used?

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In England and Wales, all incorporated Companies are required to have a registered office address (ROA). This is the location that Companies House will publicly display as the Company’s official office address on their website, and where legal and other correspondence will be sent for the Company. 

What Changes have been made regarding ROAs?

With the introduction of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (“SBEE”), any company or limited liability partnership (LLP) that was reported to be incorrectly using a ROA, was investigated by Companies House, and given a “default” ROA. Specifically, the SBEE inserted section 1097A into the Companies Act 2006, which deals with ‘Rectification of the register relating to company registered offices’. 

Companies are required to be legally permitted to use the address for their business, and applications can be made to have the address removed if the company is using it without permission. The company will be contacted by Companies House, and asked to provide evidence of permission/authorisation to use the address. Evidence can include a lease agreement, or other legal document showing the company has the right to use the address. 

Should the company not be able to provide the required evidence, Companies House will change the registered office address to a PO Box at Companies House – they are under no duty to open any correspondence sent to that address for the Company, and reserve the right to destroy any correspondence sent there after a year. Additionally, Companies House offices will not receive packages or bailiff visits for the company whose default address is registered there. 

Can my home address be my ROA?

Technically, yes it can. If you own a small business and wish to set the registered office address as your home, you can. However, Companies House publishes the registered office addresses of all incorporated companies on their website, so for safety and privacy reasons, it is wise to use a separate location from your home address. A lot of businesses use their lawyer or accountant’s office address as their ROA, to ensure that all legal correspondence is sent directly to them and dealt with appropriately.

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