A homeowners association in New Mexico is requiring a homeowner to remove a religious statue from the front yard of his home. The statue has been present for over nine years. The homeowner also claims that he obtained prior verbal approval from the association to have the statue prior to the time that he purchased his home. http://www.everythinglubbock.com/news/state-regional/homeowner-fights-hoa-over-religious-statue-removal-request/1098506105
Two things stick out from this article —first, it emphasizes the importance for an association to retain copies of written approvals or disapprovals issued by their design or architectural review committees. Most governing documents require “written” approvals for requested additions and design changes. Given this requirement, it would likely be an uphill battle for the homeowner to attempt to prove an oral approval nearly ten years after the fact.
Next, an association must act quickly once it has notice of an alleged violation. Colorado law imposes time limitations to take enforcement action. In this case, if the HOA waited nine years to take action to remove the statue, it is very unlikely that an HOA will be able to successfully argue for its removal in court.