This information should not be relied upon as legal or professional advice. Read the disclaimer.

A company has been registered at an incorrect address, what can be done? 

Companies House do not verify company registered addresses. However, they do have the power to change certain information on the register. As outlined by the Government in response to a Parliamentary Question (UIN 138350): 

Upon receipt of supporting evidence showing rights to an address, the Registrar [the individual in charge of Companies House] can assist by replacing an erroneous registered office address with a Companies House default address on the public register.  

More details are set out on the guidance on how to report a company using your personal details without your permission: 

You can contact Companies House if you believe: 

a company’s registered office is not an appropriate address

the service address of an individual officer has been used without permission

the principal office address of a corporate officer has been used without permission

You can also apply by sending form RP07 to Companies House. 

Companies House explain the application process to change an address on their blog: Get ready for changes to UK company law. They will either accept or refuse the application to remove the residential address and explain their decision to the applicant. If the application is accepted, Companies House would immediately change the address to a default address. The company would then have 28 days to provide a suitable registered office address. 

How long does it take Companies House to remove an address? 

In response to a Freedom of Information request, Companies House said in 2022 they took 35 days, on average, to process reports of false addresses. 

However, they do not give a minimum or expected timeline for completing the process. 

If Companies House accepted an application to remove a registered address, they would replace it with a default immediately and require the company to provide an appropriate replacement within 28 days. 

Why do fraudsters register companies at incorrect addresses? 

As addresses are not verified by Companies House, incorrect addresses can be registered by mistake, and are not necessarily fraudulent. Fraudsters may register companies at incorrect addresses for the purposes of applying fraudulently for credit, as reported by the Guardian 

Consumer champion Which? reported that companies set up using fraudulent addresses can be used to trick individuals out of cash because individuals can wrongly assume that any company on the register is legitimate, or to obtain loans and overdrafts from banks, and even government grants. 

The BBC reported further examples of fraudulent companies using residential addresses in September 2023. In those cases, the fraudsters used the fraudulent companies either to launder money or to open bank accounts to take out loans. 

Does a company have to publish contact information on Companies House? 

UK companies are not currently obliged to make their contact email address or phone number available to the public. Companies must however provide a registered office postal address in their filings to Companies House. These postal addresses are publicly available on the Companies House register. 

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (ECCTA) 2023 changed the law to oblige companies to provide an “appropriate” email address but this will not be made publicly available. The changes were implemented on 4 March 2024. 

Failure to register an “appropriate” email address (meaning an address where documents would be expected to be received) has become a criminal offence committed by the company and every responsible officer. Existing companies will need to provide such an email address alongside their next confirmation statement (previously called an annual return).  

Companies are not obligated to provide Companies House with a telephone number. This was not changed in the ECCTA. 

How to complain about Companies House 

Individuals can complain to Companies House through their internal complaints procedure. Companies House state that they will respond to complaints within 10 days. 

After an initial response, complaints can be escalated to the Companies House Head of Service Delivery for a review of the decision. After completing the internal complaints process, the complaint could be referred to the independent complaint adjudicators, which can review cases regarding levels of service, mistakes, and Companies House complaint handling.  

What is changing with the Companies House system? 

Identity verification 

Section 65 of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act (ECCTA) 2023 changed the law to allow Companies House to require identity verification before registering companies. The ECCTA gave Companies House powers to begin reforming the company filing regime in the UK. Despite the law change, secondary legislation is required to begin identity verification checks for new and existing companies (see ‘preparing for identity verification’: Companies House business plan 2023 to 2024). 

The Government explained in response to a Parliamentary Question that, as of December 2023, the Company Registrar (the individual in charge of Companies House) does not verify address information: 

The Registrar carries out checks to ensure filings are complete, but at present, she has limited powers to verify or validate the information which is delivered to her. Provided a document appears to be properly delivered, the Registrar must register it. 

The Registrar will be given broader powers under the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act so that she can become a more active gatekeeper over company registrations. This will include powers to check, challenge and refuse to register any information which is inaccurate or false whilst also ensuring any fraudulent addresses can be removed more easily. 

The Government has not yet published the secondary legislation required to begin identity verification checks at the point of incorporation. The Government confirmed in response to a Parliamentary Question in February 2024, that identity verification checks will be implemented for directors, persons with significant control and those filing information with Companies House “during 2025”. 

Challenging addresses 

Since 4 March 2024, Section 28 of the ECCTA 2023 requires company directors to provide an “appropriate address” and makes it an offence to not do so. These changes mean companies can no longer use a PO Box as a registered office address. 

Section 105 of the ECCTA 2023 amended the Companies Act 2006 to enable the Registrar to proactively challenge address information, and to require companies to change registered addresses without complaints being raised. It also gave Companies House the power to request supporting evidence from companies to support the information being filed. The changes came into force on 4 March 2024 and are summarised on the Government’s Changes to UK Company Law website.  

Powers over company names 

Sections 8 to 22 of the ECCTA introduced stricter restrictions on the naming of companies and gave Companies House more powers to force companies to change their registered names. Failing to comply is now an offence. Under the new powers, Companies House can reject an application to register a company name if they believe that the name is: 

  • intended to facilitate fraud 
  • the name contains computer code 
  • the name gives the false impression the company is connected to a foreign government.  

Further information 

About the author: Peter Brook is a researcher at the House of Commons Library, specialising in areas of banking, company law, competition, financial systems and institutions, and consumer financial services. 


The Commons Library does not intend the information in this article to address the specific circumstances of any particular individual. We have published it to support the work of MPs. You should not rely upon it as legal or professional advice, or as a substitute for it. We do not accept any liability whatsoever for any errors, omissions or misstatements contained herein. You should consult a suitably qualified professional if you require specific advice or information. Read our briefing for information about sources of legal advice and help.

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