Harry J. Kelly

Harry Kelly’s practice focuses on transactional and litigation aspects of housing, fair housing, reasonable accommodations, and accessible design, government contracts, financial institutions and bankruptcy law. He counsels owners of firms—particularly those active in real estate and housing—with respect to issues related to the operations of their businesses and assists them in litigation and enforcement matters. He also advises government contracts clients on transactional and regulatory issues and litigates claims against government agencies.

What do you focus on?

Asset Management and Operations

Over the course of the last 25 years, my practice has focused on issues arising from the operation and management of multifamily housing, including affordable housing properties. I represent a diverse array of clients, such as owners, developers, lenders, regulators and investors and provide guidance to maximize profitability, trouble-shoot operational and transactional issues and resolve disagreements before they become legal disputes.

Fair housing, reasonable accommodation, anti-discrimination

I routinely advise a variety of clients in developing policies to comply with fair housing and antidiscrimination laws (including reasonable accommodations and accessible design standards) and related occupancy issues. When necessary, I represent these parties in connection with investigations, compliance reviews enforcement and litigation.

Government contracts

Many of our clients do substantial business with the federal government, often on the basis of long-term contracts and regulatory agreements. I advise clients in the financial services, housing, and technology industries concerning transactional issues of their government contracts, assist them in resolving regulatory and compliance issues and, when necessary, litigate claims and enforcement disputes in agency proceedings and federal courts.

Disputes and litigation

I represent clients in disputes with federal agencies, resolution of contractual issues with public and private entities, compliance with antidiscrimination and environmental laws, and advise on financial matters, including bankruptcy. I practice before federal and state courts (including the Court of Federal Claims), boards of contract appeal and agency administrative panels.

Industry leadership and outreach

I write and lecture widely on matters such as fair housing and antidiscrimination laws, accessibility, management, occupancy, and operational issues and administrative enforcement matters. I am also a Washington representative of the firm’s recruiting committee. I enjoy the opportunity—in meetings and conferences with government and industry leaders, in law school interviews and through webinars and other social media—to share innovative ideas and to exchange perspectives.

What do you see on the horizon?

While there may be continued disagreement about the size and proper role of government programs, there will continue to be an active intersection between the private and public sectors whose interests are sometimes cooperative and sometimes confrontational. Whatever the nature of a stakeholder’s interest, there is a need for informed and adroit legal guidance to set strategies, anticipate and avoid disputes wherever possible and to resolve matters successfully when disputes do arise.


  • “How 504 and Fair Housing Can impact Your Operation or Transaction,” Assisted Housing’s New Frontier: 2022 Mid-Year NLHA Membership Meeting, January 27, 2022
  • “New Eviction Moratorium Seeks to Meet Urgent Health Needs and Tough Judicial Limits,” Long Island Housing Partnership, Inc., August 18, 2021
  • “HUD Revived Fair Housing Act Rules: Disparate Impact and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing,” Strafford Webinar, June 29, 2021
  • “Fair Housing Update: Reinstatement of AFFH and Disparate Impact,” NLHA 49th Annual Membership Meeting, June 25, 2021
  • “CDC Federal Eviction Moratorium and Emergency Rental Assistance – What You Need to Know,” Manufactured Housing Institute 2021 Webinar Series, May 26, 2021
  • “COVID 2021 - Managing Your Affordable Housing Property,” The Institute for Responsible Housing Preservation (IRHP), April 28, 2021
  • “Fair Housing Update: Important Guidance on Screening Policies and Other Fair Housing Issues,” National Leased Housing Association, June 22, 2016
  • “A Year After SCOTUS: Latest Trends in Disparate Impact,” National Apartment Association/National Affordable Housing Management Association, June 16, 2016
  • “Latest Fair Housing Issues,” Housing Development Law Institute, April 2016
  • “Reasonable Accommodations and Assistance Animals,” National Association of Residential Property Managers, April 12, 2016
  • “Fallout: The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Disparate Impact Decision,” National Housing Conference, November 6, 2015
  • “Fallout: The Impact of the Supreme Court’s Disparate Impact Decision,” National Housing and Redevelopment Association, November 1, 2015
  • “Disparate Impact Developments after the Inclusive Communities Decision,” National Affordable Housing Management Association, October 26, 2015
  • “Disparate Impact Developments,” New York State Association for Affordable Housing Upstate Conference, September 30, 2015
  • “Disparate Impact Developments,” National Council of State Housing Agencies Annual Conference, September 29, 2015
  • “Disparate Impact, VAWA, and Local Barriers to Housing: New Developments Impacting Affordable Housing Providers,” Vendome webinar, September 17, 2015
  • “Fallout: Housing Discrimination and Disparate Impact After Inclusive Communities,” National Multifamily Housing Council/National Apartment Association Webinar, July 30, 2015
  • “Fallout: Housing Discrimination and Disparate Impact after Inclusive Communities,” Georgia Apartment Association, July 27, 2015
  • “Resident Protections from VAWA to Fair Housing,” National Leased Housing Association, June 26, 2015
  • “The Impact of Disparate Impact on Multifamily Affordable Housing,” National Apartment Association Education Conference & Exposition, June 25, 2015
  • “Religious Garb and Grooming in the Workplace: Rights, Responsibilities and 2014 EEOC Guidance,” Housing and Development Law Institute, April 9-10, 2015
  • “Fair Housing and Housing Accessibility—An Overview,” Lawline CLE webinar, June 13, 2014.
  • “Fair Housing Enforcement: What You Need To Know,” Housing and Development Law Institute, May 16, 2014
  • “Navigating the New Fair Housing Rule and Challenging NIMBYism Through Fair Housing Litigation: A Lifecycle Approach,” National Housing and Rehabilitation Association, February 22, 2014

LIHTC and the Fair Housing Act: What does 'for use by the general public' mean?

Tax Credit Advisor | November 01, 2021

Washington, DC Affordable Housing & Real Estate partner Harry Kelly wrote this article on low-income housing tax credits and the Fair Housing Act, specifically how the “General Public Use Rule” can put property owners and investors at risk of losing tax credits if they do not maintain compliance.

Eviction moratoria and rental assistance

Tax Credit Advisor | September 01, 2021

This article on landlords helping tenants navigate rental assistance programs quotes Washington, DC Affordable Housing & Real Estate partner Harry Kelly on the process of connecting residents with rental assistance resources and potential challenges along the way.

Compliance Hot Spots

Law.com | June 09, 2020

This roundup of white-collar, regulatory and compliance news and trends mentions Affordable Housing and Real Estate partner Harry Kelly and Corporate partner Ken Silverberg, both of Washington, DC, for representing a businessman’s estate in a new tax case before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington.

Everything Restaurants Need to Know About ADA Compliance

QSR Magazine | December 12, 2019

Washington, DC, Affordable Housing and Real Estate partner Harry Kelly provides commentary throughout this article about accessibility needs restaurants must consider to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Harry J. Kelly


Washington, DC

Phone: 202-585-8712

Boston University School of Law, J.D.

Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, M.C.R.P.

Williams College, B.A.

District of Columbia


Harry has received an AV Preeminent® Peer Review RatingTM from Martindale Hubbell®, the highest possible rating for ethics and legal ability.

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