B.S. from outside of Connecticut writes:
Dear Mister Condo,
I have had decorative gates on my front door for 40 years. Does the condo board now have the right to force me to remove them?
Mister Condo replies:
B.S., the decorative front gates that have adorned your condo for the past 40 years fall under the guidelines for architectural compliance for your association. Enforcement of the architectural compliance guidelines falls under the jurisdiction of the Board so, technically, the Board has the right to “force” you to comply with guidelines that you agreed to abide by when you purchased a unit within the condo association. However, since these guidelines have not been enforced for 40 years, you may have protections outside the condominium’s rules and regulations. In California, for instance, the courts have held that associations have 5 years from the date the violation was discovered or should have been discovered through the exercise of due diligence to enforce the rules. If you live in California, I would think you could successfully argue your decorative gate has been in clear sight for more than 5 years! You should speak with an attorney knowledgeable of community association laws in your state to see what rights you have to keep your gates. If you have no additional protections, you may have to succumb to the rules of the association if the Board chooses to enforce them. Good luck!