Contact Richard Higgs
I am a Real Estate partner based out of our Reading office. I have been described as ‘proactive’ by Legal 500 and that approach consistently ensures that not only are clients’ expectations exceeded, but the bigger picture of my clients’ overall commercial and business objectives are taken into account. My in-depth knowledge and experience in all aspects of commercial real estate transactions and non-contentious work is augmented by long-standing client relationships, some of which stretch back nearly fourteen years.
Educating clients is a key focus for me and my team, whether through email updates or the external seminars and workshops which we regularly host. My clients include FTSE 100 companies, down to SMEs, individuals, public authorities and bodies, as well as charities, educational and third sector organisations.
I routinely advise on all aspects of landlord and tenant law, including granting and taking leases in respect of all kinds of non-residential property, dealing with licences and agreements ancillary to leases and procedural steps under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.
I also have wide experience in relation to telecommunications leases and licences. Recent transactions include a lease of Class 1 offices for the headquarters of a major professional consultancy and the negotiation and grant of retail concession leases at a newly constructed PFI hospital.
I am continually instructed on a full range of acquisitions and disposals of many types of property, including the disposal of surplus land for public authorities, agricultural land, as well as properties being purchased for investors or for occupation.
Sales and purchases by private treaty, tender bids and at auction (including preparation for sale) are all matters of which I have full experience. Recent transactions include sales and purchases of agricultural land for over £2 million, the acquisition of a property for new church premises and a number of auction purchases for a client building up a property portfolio with a value of over £7.5 million.
I have a long-standing practice acting for banks and borrowers in relation to secured loans and this specialism is very much a growing part of my work. Transactions include acting upon the purchase (with secured lending) of a development property in London with a loan of £6.4 million. Other transactions on which I have advised have included finance for GPs as well as routine loans and commercial remortgages.
I have a particularly keen interest in development and infrastructure. I have a proven track record in relation to railways, having acted upon a number of infrastructure projects, including Crossrail, HS1 and the procurement of a railway siding for in excess of £13.5 million. I have advised extensively on drainage and road adoption agreements as well as wayleaves and easements. I also have experience of dealing with site assembly, preparation of development sites for disposal and acquisitions, including options and conditional contracts and overage.
My work and experience in the healthcare sector is wide ranging. I can count numerous NHS bodies among my most regular clients, as well as GP practices and private providers. My clients appreciate my pragmatic, commercial approach in a sector which is often dogged by inertia caused by aversion to risk.
The healthcare sector is subject to continual change and I have advised NHS bodies on multiple occasions in respect of the property aspects of reorganisations and service transfers. My work has also included disposals of surplus land and property – usually with overage, putting in place complex occupational documentation including in the context of PFI as well as day to day advice on management of the estate. For GP practices, I regularly advise on refinancing and partnership changes as well as in respect of development of, and investment in, premises.
As part of the work of the projects and corporate team, I am constantly engaged in providing support in respect of the real estate aspects. I have considerable experience of providing City of London Certificates for major projects as well as drafting and negotiating the often complex property aspects of Project Agreements and Sale and Purchase agreements.