Members' companies registered at a hackspace address

Just a quick one here to cover some notes on this subject, as it comes up occasionally.

There are a number of things to bear in mind when considering whether to allow people to register their companies at your address:

  • A registered office address is required to advertise the business name “so positioned that it may be easily seen by any visitor to that office, place or location” (The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008). This requirement is the responsibility of the business, and I will note it is frequently ignored.
  • New changes to companies law require that “a document addressed to the company, and delivered there by hand or by post, would be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company, and the delivery of documents there is capable of being recorded by the obtaining of an acknowledgement of delivery” (Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 s28)
  • If your business is providing registered office services, you are required to register with HMRC for supervision under the Money Laundering Regulations (HMRC guidance). I believe this requires you to collect identification documents for your customers (KYC).
  • If your hackspace is in London, there is a special law which only applies to London requiring businesses providing “mail forwarding services” to register with their local council and collect details and ID documents for everyone they’re forwarding mail for. (London Local Authorities Act 2007 s75)

You probably could try and argue the latter two from a hackspace perspective but I’m not sure I’d want to go up against HMRC…

I’d also add that if your space becomes known for allowing this, you could find yourself getting used opportunistically by less than savoury businesses, which at best will cause you extra hassle.