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New law: Directors and others can more easily make home addresses at Companies House unavailable for public inspection

Directors, members of companies, company secretaries and others may want to consider applying to make their home addresses unavailable on the public record at Companies House, with new regulations making it much easier.

June 2018

This update was published in Legal Alert - June 2018

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

From 26 April 2018, directors, company members, secretaries, 'persons with significant control' of UK limited companies, and members of LLPs can ask Companies House to make their residential addresses on their organisation's public record unavailable to the public, whenever those addresses were filed there and whichever documents they appear in, without having to satisfy previous criteria. Proposed and former directors, etc, can also apply.

Previously, they had to show they met certain criteria – for example, that there was a serious risk of violence or intimidation if their home address was freely available on the public record. Addresses filed before 2003 could not be removed in any circumstances.

However, if you are removing your residential address from a company of which you are currently a director, you must provide a 'service address' to replace it. This may be your business premises, or a professional advisor's office (although they will usually charge you for the service). You cannot use a PO Box number.

If you are no longer a director, etc, Companies House will keep the first half of your postcode (or equivalent information) on the public record and hide the rest of your residential address.

There is an exception if you use your residential address as your registered office address. Note that there is a fee of £55 for each document that is to be suppressed, so costs can add up.

Company law changes in 2009 allowed directors to file a service address for the public record, available to all, while their residential address (which must also be filed) was kept secret by Companies House, so this latest reform will mostly benefit people appointed as directors before 2009. However, there will be directors and others who have filed their residential address as their publicly available address since then, but who now regret it, who may also benefit from these changes.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Directors, company secretaries and others affected by the new laws should consider whether they wish to make their home addresses unavailable on the public record, given how much easier it now is to do so

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.

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