Can Leaks be Caused by Not Cleaning a Bathroom?

handheld shower head

We recently had water leaking from the ceiling of the first floor in our house. It turned out the water was coming from a shower on the second floor. The water was leaking through a space between tiles on the wall, about 3′ above the floor. There is a window located directly above the tile where the leak occurred. There appears to be little or no grout between the tiles at the location of the leak. Our landlord is telling that the grout has deteriorated from a lack of cleaning and that as a result, we are at fault and must pay for the damage. The house is a little over a year old. Can not cleaning a bathroom cause this? Is there any credibility to him saying this?

The Money Pit Answer

I spent 20 years as a professional home inspector and I have to say that this has GOT to be about the dumbest excuse for a lazy landlord I have ever heard! The answer is NO!  Not cleaning a bathroom will not lead to a leak. However, not maintaining your grout and caulk WILL!  Tell your landlord to  get busy fixing this as it is his 100% responsibility for sure.

Usually these kind of leaks occur when a section of grout is missing, or if the seam was never caulked. When you take a shower, water splashes off you and can run down the walls until it finds these little gaps and then leak to the space below.  To make sure that the drain is not leaking however, you can easily pour a few gallons of water down it without splashing any on the walls.