An Elysian Heights house without heat leaves some people cold

Photo from theMLS.Com/Redfin.com

A newly listed $699,000 Craftsman home in the Elysian Heights section of Echo Park features historic charm, mountain views and updated kitchen and baths.  But  the readers of Curbed L.A. noticed that this century-old bungalow at the top of Echo Park Avenue comes without air conditioning or heat. That triggered a debate about the need for a/c and a heater in Los Angeles’ mild climate.  Said one Curbed commenter:

You don’t need heat or cooling in that neighborhood. It’s called open windows, or a sweater. Maybe electric blankets in winter, thugh I prefer the comforters.

Another quipped:

I‘m sorry, but when it gets down into the 40’s in LA, you DO need heating. Unless you want to pay 3/4 of a million dollars and walk around your own house swaddled in a sweater and a snuggie, then have at it! Idiocy.

Why no heat?  Agent Brock Harris the current owner “never got around to it” after extensive renovations, which included new electrical and plumbing systems and Low-E heat reduction windows.  Harris said he does not see the lack of heat as a big issue, noting that a heating system can be installed before or after the sale.

Harris was surprised by the Curbed comments about the lack of heat. He assumed the lack of parking would be a bigger issue than the lack of heat.  “You can always add heat.”

No comments

  1. I’m pretty sure that the city building code requires heat for a bedroom; I know that a landlord needs to provide heat for tenants’ bedrooms.

  2. When I was trying to buy a house last year I almost bought one that had no heat and was told by my realtor and inspector it must have a wall unit to be up to code at least. I thought my realtor even said that not having that could effect my lending maybe?? i don’t remember. The house had more problems than that, so we pulled out of the deal., but yeah it must have at least a wall heater.

  3. DBS code requires a heater but not an ac. Often an inspector from the DBS will let it slide depending on the relationship he or she has with the builder. I just remodeled my house so I happen to know that DBS code “is open to interpretation” depending on the inspector.

  4. LA building code requires that a residence be able to be maintained at 70 degrees in all habitable rooms. The information can be found at labs.org. If an inspector is letting it slide, he is not properly doing his job because the code is not just for the people who build and remodel, or who want to “tough it out,” it is also for the people who later purchase, rent, or otherwise inhabit the dwelling, some who may be vulnerable to exploitation.

  5. When we extensively renovated our second floor in 2009 we “got around to it.” We don’t use our central heat/AC very often, but it’s better to have it and not need it than the other way around; and we wouldn’t trade it for all the open windows or sweaters in the world.

  6. Update

    Go to ladbs.org. Access FAQ tab. Access Permits. The question is: Is heating required in a dwelling unit?

    The answer: Yes. 70 degrees 3′ above the floor in all habitable areas.

  7. Regardless of what the DBS says, you don’t need heat in southern California. I would much rather have ac than heat anyways.

  8. Years ago, I read about a woman who filed a lawsuit here in Los Angeles — and won (or maybe they settled) — due to lack of heat in an apartment. The weather got cold and their heater wasn’t working, so they turned on the oven burners to stay warm, and the woman’s son burned himself, and from what I remember, they were awarded a lot of money. I’ll search for the link.

  9. My understanding is that in order for a space to be described as “habitable” there must be a heater, among other requirements such as windows, etc. I would think not having a heater at all in a house could make the appraisal very difficult, perhaps not even being able to call the space livable.

  10. busytimmy, I don’t think most appraisers would take the time to investigate whether or not the house has a heater; that’s something the buyer’s home inspector should catch (if the buyer hires a decent inspector). Appraisers are usually concerned with bigger-picture issues; i.e., general condition of the house, square footage, floor plan, lot size, etc.

  11. @James,

    I think they won 13mil. I used to live in a different building owned by the same property owner. It was an old artist loft building that didn’t have heat for decades but it sure got heat quickly after that. I still stand by my claim that you don’t need heat in LA. I have lived without heat for almost a decade, just not continuously.

  12. Yes, an appraiser won’t care.

    But an inspector’s report will point out that there’s no heater and a bank won’t lend on a house with no heat, regardless of how temperate things are at the top of EP Avenue.

  13. There’s a fireplace.

  14. Never use your oven or stovetop as a heater. That’s how people end up dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s doubtful that these places without a heater will be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors either.

  15. @Captain Obvious, great observation but the fireplace is listed as “decorative” only.

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