Real Estate Law
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I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your dilemma.
When a person moves into a community that has a homeowner's association, they agree to abide by the rules of the HOA. So, the answer is really in the CC&Rs for your community. If it says that the board has to approve changes to the exterior of the property (even the back), then you needed to get their permission before you made the changes and they can demand that you restore the property. But if the CC&Rs don't say anything about a uniform appearance, or if it only applies to the front, they can't. Read through all of the documentation you have very carefully. If your board is claiming that they DO have a right to tell you to put the room back the way it was, ask them to show you the piece of paper that says so.
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I'm sorry you feel that way.
HOAs DO have jurisdiction over the footprint of the house if the bylaws say they do. It is impossible to provide a more specific answer without reading your bylaws, which is beyond the scope of this site.
It is not a defense to a violation of a rule or bylaw that other people have also broken the sale rule unless there's evidence that you're being discriminated against because of your race, ethnicity, religion, etc. But that's not an argument you ever have to make unless it can be established that they have the right to tell you what to do in the first place. Which takes us back to what I said - read your CC&Rs. I can't tell you what's in a contract I've never seen. No one can.
You're welcome. Hopefully, the documents will be clear that they don't have this authority, and then you can keep your room.