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Virtual offices

Find out about relevant legislation and guidance to operating a virtual office

Sometimes referred to as a mail forwarding or holding business or an accommodation address, virtual offices are addresses which are used by a business or individual for the receipt of mail despite the business or individual not actually being there.

Mail can be collected from the premises or forwarded on to another address.

How to register

If you want to operate a virtual office in Westminster, you will need to register with us.

Please download and complete the application form and send it to the details on the form:

You'll also need to pay a one-off registration fee of £100 by credit or debit card. A certificate will be issued on receipt of the application.

We recommend that you read our guidelines:

Virtual office - application guidelines

If you have any questions, please contact us.

Legislation and fines

We introduced legal controls under the London Local Authorities Act 2007 which requires a virtual office to register with us and keep records of all clients who use their services and a copy of their identification and proof of address.

Failing to register with the council, keep records as required or make false entries could result in a maximum fine of £5,000. The legislation applies London-wide but is adoptive so a local council can choose whether or not to implement the Act in their area.

View which London councils have adopted section 75 of the London Local Authorities Act 2007:

Advice for providers of registered office address services

London Trading Standards is highlighting what it believes to be a major problem which results in letters sent to limited companies at their registered office address never being received by the intended recipients.

Legal opinion has been sought by London Trading Standards, which states that companies choosing to only be forwarded certain items, for example official government mail, are in breach of professional diligence provisions in unfair trading regulations. Such a breach is a criminal offence for which Directors and other company officers could be fined or imprisoned. Any Trust and Company Service Providers facilitating this practice could also be committing offences.

Read the full press release from London Trading Standards

Read the guidance on mail forwarding:

The Virtual Office Forum (VOF)

The Forum was set up to establish high standards of business excellence and compliance within the sector.

It's made up of members from the industry, including the Flexible Space Association Ltd,  law enforcement agencies such as the City of London and Metropolitan Police, Trading Standards authorities as well as other partner agencies.

The objectives of the Forum include:

  • encouraging compliance and develop best practice guidelines
  • defining the rigorous ethical and business standards required to operate in the sector
  • creating a strong collaborative network of companies and organisations
  • promoting cross industry information sharing
  • lobbying on issues affecting the sector

Published: 8 October 2021

Last updated: 4 August 2023