"Hose Washing" Cars

by Alan J. Claffie

So we've lived in this rental community for almost five years now. Earlier this year, the place changed management companies and a whole new crew was brought in. Our unit is right across from the leasing office.

Our lease forbids "hose washing" of cars. I can live with this especially since it's near impossible to run a hose out to where the cars are parked. When I wash cars, which I do a lot when the weather is nice, I use a pair of buckets and sponges and stuff. Not ideal but it gets the job done.

Today, after the thunderstorms and stuff got over with, it was a beautiful late afternoon. I dragged the buckets and sponges out and cleaned up the yellow car. Then I started going around the car with the goof-off dabbing away the dead bugs and other crap that the tree it's parked under does to it.

As I'm winding up that part of the job someone from the leasing office walks over and says "great job, but you can't do that". Do what? She said the lease prohibits washing and waxing cars. This turned into a conversation that went around and around and around and around for about ten minutes about what is so bad about washing cars in the first place. She says that if I do it, other people will do it and it'll lead to people who don't live here bringing their cars here to wash their cars. The perplexed look never left my face.

I mean we've got problems here with people driving through the residential areas way too fast, with music way too loud, and kids with nothing better to do than hang around in the middle of the street just being stupid kids talking too loud and making sure everyone around knows exactly what a pain in the neck they can be. And now People Are Washing Their Cars!

I argued that washing cars is good for a community. It gets people out of their houses, interacting with their neighbors, watching what's going on outside, and people visiting can see that the people who live here take some pride in the stuff that they have.

No go. She said the lease prohibits it, and I didn't know the exact wording to counter her. So she went back in the office and I went to the filing cabinet to get the lease. And there, in black and pink, it says in the Resident Agrees Not To section

20. AUTOMOBILES: Hose wash automobiles.

Now I'd like to think I'm a reasonable person who can understand basic English, and that the lease includes the word "hose" means that they don't want people using hoses to wash their cars. Which means that washing by other means, like using a couple buckets, is OK. And waxing (which isn't even considered washing) is completely wide open.

So I took the lease to the office and put it on the desk in front of the chick and said "if you catch me using a hose, do your worst". She counters by saying that it all depends on how it's interpreted. It's three words, and one of them (hose) is so specific that it leads me, and any reasonable person, to assume that washing by any means that does not involve a hose is acceptable.

I'm not looking for a battle, I'm looking to have clean cars. Not sure where it goes from here... either they're going to have to let me wash and wax, or redo the lease paperwork. But if they're going to use the existing wording to keep me from washing and waxing, I'm not going to be very happy.

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