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Director’s privacy – improvements to the Companies House regime for removal of residential addresses

26 June 2018

New regulations, which came into force on 26 April 2018, will make it easier for directors (and others) to remove their residential addresses from publicly available Companies House documents.

At a glance

  • The Government has recognised that individuals with personal information on the public register are at a higher risk of being subject to identity fraud. As a result, it is now much easier for individuals to have their residential addresses removed from publicly available company documents.
  • Individuals such as directors, former directors, company secretaries, LLP members or people with significant control (PSCs) can now apply to Companies House for removal of their residential addresses from the public register. The “violence or intimidation” test has been deleted for individual applicants.

So what does it mean in practice?

  • Since the Companies Act 2006 (CA 2006) came into force, individuals have not been required to disclose their residential addresses on the public register. If a residential address has been disclosed (including when this was required prior to CA 2006), an application must be made to Companies House for its removal.
  • Prior to 26 April 2018, Companies House would only remove residential addresses from the public register if there was a serious risk of violence or intimidation as a result of the company’s work. A high threshold in practice.
  • With the current improved online access to information at Companies House, the risk of identity fraud against individuals whose addresses are on the public register has increased.
  • The new regulations enable an individual whose residential address appears on any publicly available document at Companies House to have their address removed, at a cost of £55 per document. To do so, the individual will just need to apply to Companies House. Now they are not required to give a reason. At the time of writing, there is no prescribed form for the application.
  • Current directors (as well as current company secretaries, LLP members or PSCs) must provide an alternative correspondence address (usually the company or LLP registered address). For those not required to give an alternative correspondence address, Companies House will redact the residential address in full other than the first half of the post code – this would apply to individuals such as former directors or company secretaries of companies that still exist.
  • Two points to note:
  • Companies House will retain residential addresses on the non-public part of the register. Public authorities such as the police, insolvency service and pension regulator will still be able to access this, together with credit reference agencies (unless the individual has a “section 243 exemption”).
  • If a company makes the application on behalf of an individual director (or PSC) it will still need to show “serious risk of violence or intimidation”. The reason given is to avoid large scale redactions of historic information.

Where can I see the details?

  • The Government’s news page about the changes (February 2018 when the draft regulations were released) is on this link.
  • The full regulations implementing these changes can be found on this link.
  • Comprehensive Companies House guidance on restricting disclosure of your information can be found here

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