Although 'The Companies (Address of Registered Office) Regulations 2016' came into force in April 2016, it is only recently we have started to see an increase in companies who have a registered office address as a PO Box at Companies House (usually PO Box 4385 (Company Number): Companies House Default Address Cardiff CF14 8LH).
Why is this happening?
Until 2016 there was nothing to stop a limited company using any address they wanted as their registered office address, and if that happened to be your address, there was nothing you could do about it, meaning endless visits from process servers and tonnes of mail you didn't know what to do with.
That changed when the new regulations came into force in 2016, enabling the Registrar to change the registered office of the company where they consider the company is not authorised to use the address where it is registered. (Prior to this it was only the company themselves who could change the registered office - now anybody can make an application to the Registrar to change it). If the Registrar changes the registered office, any mail received for the company at the PO Box address is left, unopened, where the company can collect it. After 12 months it may be destroyed.
How do we serve documents on a company where the Registrar has changed the address?
We are not aware of any guidelines for how to deal with service in this specific instance, however when serving a Winding Up Petition, the Insolvency Rules state that in the event the registered office address is not viable for service (which we can conclude would be the case), service can be effected at any other known address for the company.
ASH (UK) Process Servers Ltd recommends service at the PO Box registered office by first class pre-paid post, and then service at any known trading addresses, and any known directors home addresses (and we can assist with trace enquiries to locate these if you do not know them).
So, while it is an inconvenience, we can still get your paperwork validly served on the company when the Registrar has changed their registered office to the default address.
Call 01543 888218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.