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Protection of Residential Addresses in the UK

  • United Kingdom
  • Corporate secretarial services

23-04-2018

Research shows that company directors are the victims of one in five current recorded cases of identity fraud. This is in part due to the fact that more of their information is easily available to the public.

Currently, all individuals registered as directors or members provide a residential address and a service address. If a residential address is entered as the service address, registered office or subscriber address, then the residential address will appear on the public record. Otherwise an individuals’ residential address is not published on the public record but is available to credit ref agencies, the police, and the Secretary of State, the Bank of England, and additional public authorities.

At present, in order to remove a residential address on the public record, an individual must satisfy Companies House and the relevant authorities, that there is a serious risk of violence or intimidation as a result of the company's work supported by evidence of the need for protection.

The proposed regulations, due to come into force at the end of summer 2018, remove these requirements, and directors and members can request that their residential address is replaced with an alternate address.

The proposed changes are as follows:

  • At present, an application must be made to Companies House with proof of serious risk, violence or intimidation, accompanied by supporting evidence
  • Presently, the application must include supporting evidence, and further evidence may be requested
  • The application itself may be made by an individual, a company, or a person who has registered a charge, if there is a serious risk that they, or a person who lives with them, will be subjected to violence or intimidation as a result of the company’s activities
  • When the new regulations come into force, the individual or company may simply apply to have the address removed via a single form
  • There will be no need to provide any evidence
  • The new regulations will remove the need for an individual to satisfy this “serious risk” test

Where there remains a requirement for an applicant's current address to stay on the register, the usual residential address will be replaced with a service address.

Companies House have advised that once the regulations are passed, an application form will be provided on their website. The completed application form must be posted directly to them.

High standards of corporate transparency will be maintained, as public authorities such as the pensions regulator, creditors and the police have access to directors' information, which will still include residential addresses.

The government hopes that the changes will ensure that company directors and members will feel safe when setting up a new business, and our robust commercial reputation within the UK will continue to strengthen.