Did the approval from the HOA come in writing? Was it from the architectural committee or the board of directors? I would certainly consult with a real estate attorney -- who is familiar with HOA law -- this is a unique and arcane category of real estate law. The attorney will want to see the approval letter; the non-compliance letter; the application(s) you submitted to whatever committee approved the windows, and your CC&R's and ADR policy. So gather those materials, and look for a good HOA attorney in your neck of the woods.
Yes. You need to show an attorney the letter regarding non-compliance as well as the documents showing that you went through the approval process last year. Many HOAs have an architecture committee which serves under the board of directors for approval of architectural changes.
Look for an attorney who is familiar with the Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act and HOA governance in general.
Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.