Major changes will be made to the system for the registration of company charges with effect from 6 April 2013. A single regime will apply to all companies incorporated anywhere in the UK (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). An almost identical system will apply to LLPs.

The new system will require all charges to be registered, unless they fall within one of the exempt categories. This is meant to make it easier to understand what needs to be registered and what does not. The exempt categories include charges contained in rent deposit deeds, which will be helpful for landlords who will no longer have to go through the process of registering rent deposit deeds granted by company tenants at Companies House.

The period for registration will remain 21 days, and the sanction for non-registration will remain the same as now – an unregistered charge will be void as against a liquidator, administrator or creditor of the security provider. The existing criminal sanction for failure to register will be removed.

Registration will be possible in two different ways: the existing paper system and a new electronic system that is to be introduced. It will be necessary to send a certified copy of the charge document to Companies House, which will be placed on the public record. Any commercially sensitive provisions should therefore be dealt with in a separate document. UK companies will no longer be required to maintain their own charges registers, but will be obliged to keep copies of all charging documents available for inspection by members of the public on request.