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A limited company SAIL address is a Single Alternative Inspection Location that limited companies can use for the storage and inspection of certain company records. These records are normally kept at a company’s registered office address, but sometimes it’s more convenient to store them at a SAIL address.
In this post, we discuss the purpose and requirements of a limited company SAIL address and why you would use one. We also explain the process involved in setting up this type of address and moving company records from your registered office address.
What is a limited company SAIL address?
‘SAIL’ is an abbreviation of Single Alternative Inspection Location. It is an optional address that limited companies (and LLPs) can use to store certain records (mainly statutory registers) and make them available for public inspection.
Ordinarily, a company would use its registered office address for these purposes. But sometimes the registered office is not suitable or convenient for the storage and inspection of company records. In such circumstances, you can set up and use a SAIL address instead.
If you decide to use a single alternative inspection location, it must be situated in the same country as your registered office (either England & Wales, Wales only, Scotland, or Northern Ireland).
You will have to notify Companies House and state which records and registers are being kept there. The SAIL address will be placed on the public register of companies, alongside your other company details.
Why would I use a Single Alternative Inspection Location?
Companies normally use a SAIL address when the directors determine that the registered office is unsuitable for the storage and/or inspection of company records. This could be for any number of reasons, such as:
- the director is using a home address as a registered office and they do not want people inspecting company records in their private residence
- the registered office address is too far away for the director or company secretary to easily accommodate inspections
- the registered office is not safe for the public, has poor access, is hard to find, or is located in a remote part of the country
- to provide a more professional or appropriate setting for inspections
- the company’s accountant or secretarial agent takes care of the company’s records at their business address
- the company’s registered office is temporarily out of use or under construction
You do not have to give a reason for using a SAIL address. It is entirely up to you whether you want to set up a SAIL address or continue storing your company records at your registered office.
Does a SAIL address have to be in the UK?
Yes, it must be situated in the UK. Specifically, in the same UK jurisdiction where the company is incorporated and where the registered office address is located.
This means that your SAIL address has to be located in:
- England or Wales – if you register a company in England & Wales
- Wales only – if you set up a Welsh company in Wales only
- Scotland – if you register a Scottish company
- Northern Ireland – if you set up a Northern Irish company
However, like the registered office address, you can change a SAIL address whenever you like and as often as you want – on the condition that it stays in the same part of the UK.
What company records and registers can I keep at a SAIL address?
The company records and registers that you can keep at this address include:
- register of members (shareholders or guarantors)
- register of directors
- register of company secretaries
- register of people with significant control (PSCs)
- register of charges (e.g. mortgages) and instruments creating those charges
- directors’ service contracts
- directors’ indemnities
- copies of company resolutions
- minutes of general meetings
- contracts relating the purchase or redemption of own shares
- register of debenture holders
All of these records can be inspected by the general public, following a proper written request made to the company.
How to set up a SAIL address
Setting up a SAIL address is easy. Once you have chosen a suitable address, you need to notify Companies House by filing forms AD02 and AD03 online. These must be delivered within 14 days.
Form AD02 is used to register the SAIL address. Form AD03 is used to tell Companies House which records you are moving from your registered office to the SAIL address. For limited liability partnerships (LLPs), you will use forms LL AD02 and LL AD03 instead.
To complete form AD03, you will need to provide your company name, registration number, and single alternative inspection location.
To complete form AD03, you must provide your company name and registration number and indicate which company records are being kept at the SAIL address.
How to change or stop using a SAIL address
If you decide to change your SAIL address at any point, you can notify Companies House online using forms AD02 and AD03. The procedure is exactly the same as registering a SAIL address for the first time. You must tell Companies House within 14 days.
If you want to stop using a SAIL address altogether and/or return some or all of your company records back to your registered office, you must file form AD04 (or form LL AD04 for an LLP) at Companies House within 14 days.
So there you have it…
We’ve shed some light on the limited company SAIL address by explaining what it is, why you would use and set up one, and the company records you can keep there.
If you have any questions about using a SAIL address for your limited company, please contact us or leave a comment below.