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Delaware Clarifies "Registered Agent" Rule

Posted By Bob Ogle, Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012

ESA has received clarification from the Delaware State Police, which licenses security system businesses in the state, regarding an in-state office requirement  that went into effect June 10, 2012.

Section 1201(b) (24 Del.Chapter 12 of Delaware State Code) requires that every security business doing business in the state "shall have a registered agent,” and defines a security business as "a person or entity in the business of selling, providing, installing, maintaining, servicing, repairing, altering, replacing or providing monitoring services at a security system site.”

After getting clarification from the state’s Professional Licensing Section, here’s what that means: Every security system and protective service business operating in the state "shall have an office located in the State of Delaware with an operational telephone that shall be answered during regular business hours.” In other words, just having a registered agent isn’t enough; there has to be a physical office with a person available to answer the phone during business hours.

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions, provided by the Professional Licensing Section:

Does the Delaware office requirement apply to security businesses which only monitor alarm systems including systems in Delaware?

No. The Professional Licensing Section will interpret and enforce the law only with respect to security businesses which install and/or service or repair alarm systems in Delaware, but not to apply the law to security businesses which only monitor alarm systems in Delaware.

What is required to satisfy the Delaware office requirement?

A Delaware office is a physical location with a street/number address to which the U.S. Postal Service can deliver regular first-class mail and certified mail on all days when the USPS normally delivers mail. This does not include a P.O. box address. It may include shared office space or a residence so long as there is a part-time employee or other agent who regularly retrieves the mail and forwards it within a reasonable time to you if your office or business address is out-of-state.

What is required to satisfy the operational telephone requirement?

An operational telephone is a land-line or cellular telephone with a working number which has an answering machine or voice-mail capability. The telephone number does not need to have a Delaware area code (302). The telephone must be answered when dialed, or in response to a voice message, by an employee or agent during normal business hours.

If my business is domiciled in Delaware as a corporation, partnership, or limited liability corporation or partnership, and I have designated a registered agent for service of process to the Division of Corporations, can my registered agent satisfy the Delaware office requirement for a security business?

No. A registered agent for service of process serves the limited function of receiving legal process of behalf of a Delaware corporation, partnership, or limited liability corporation or partnership whose office or place of business is located outside of Delaware. The Delaware office requirement for security businesses – which applies to both domestic and foreign corporations – serves an entirely different purpose: to provide accountability to the Professional Licensing Section and customers in Delaware. 

For further information, or additional clarification, contact ESA Director of Government Relations John Chwat at

Tags:  Government Relations  legislation 

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