"Just did a home inspection on a condo I am buying and there is no heater in the unit. Does seller have to fix this by law? Health and safety issue?"
Your question shows the importance of a home inspection.
You have 3 issues in your question.
1 - Is it the law? The answer is no. There are only 3 things a seller is required to do statewide to sell a home in CA. Smoke detectors where required, waterheater must be earthquake strapped & braced, and as of July 1st, must have a CO Detector installed. Some jurisdictions like San Diego city may have other regulations like water conservation or cities where it freezes or has high heat may require cooling or heating. (Note, I am not an attorney so this is my opinion, not legal advice).
2 - Will your lender approve the condition of the home? Here is where "health & safety" come in to play. Realistically speaking, a space heater is all many people use, even if they have central heat. You will not freeze to death in Encinitas without a heater but most non-conventional lenders like VA & FHA will require a heater. Now it becomes a negotiation between you and the seller. Even if your lender requires it, the seller is not obligated to install a heater however, you many not be able to buy the property.
3 - Disclosure. If it is a bank owned property, they have very limited disclosure requirements. A regular seller should have known and disclosed it but in either case, they are not required to install a heater to sell the home. Hopefully, you have not removed your contingencies yet.
I am curious though, I have been a Realtor who has worked and lived in Encinitas for 17 years but I know of no condos that were built without a heater. Some have ceiling heat which is difficult to see. Did your inspector say it was never installed or was it removed?
Dennis Smith, ABR, SRES, e-PRO, CDPE RealtorÂ® CA DRE#00476662
Just an update, if there was an existing heater that was in the condo, chances are the duct work is still in place. Make sure to get multiple estimates, check the contractors license number at http://www.cslb.ca.gov/ also, make sure they have current general liability insurance. Hope this helps.
Is this a bank owned distressed sale(foreclosure) and being sold "AS IS?" If so, the seller may have taken tis into consideration when determining the list price and are not concerned about lender approval because they are seeking cash buyers.
There seems to be vital information missing that could be helpful to providing accurate feedback.....
Best of luck!
If you are going with a VA or FHA loan - it will need to be fixed.
If the home is sold as is - or your lender does not require a repair, it may legally be sold.
The bigger question is 'Do you WANT to Buy a Home Without a Heater?'
The FNMA HomePath Renovation loan may be able to provide funds to install the heater. Check with your lender about that. The Home Path program is one of the few that do not require an appraisal and also may lend you funds to do improvements to the home.
Good luck. Encinitas is a nice community.
I am never too busy for your referrals
The San Diego Property Shop
CA DRE # 00648687
If all the duct work is there, depending on the size of the home (and speaking from past experience) you should be able to have a new heater installed for around $1,000 bucks +/-.
since you are dealing with a REO it may well be that the seller did not know that the heater had been stripped out. and the agents here will agree that most REO agents are not known for their disclosure compliance, so they may not have known either...although they are required to do what we call a "diligent visual inspection", many are very bare-bones about their inspection memos.
with this new advice i suggest that the seller be put on notice that the home is not habitable and that a heater needs to be installed or the price of the home be amended to reflect the newly discovered defect.
if you do need to get a new heater the code has added additional energy efficiency burdens to the ductwork that makes the job more that just reinstalling a heater plant...you may have a problem finding an HVAC contractor who will do just the fixture.
it is entirely up to the seller whether they will accommodate the lack of a heater. dennis smith below mentions removing contingencies...his remark is very important...with the hesitance of lenders to loan these days i would be VERY careful removing contingencies here.
If neither of the above, I would agree with Mike ford that the unit has radiant heat. Radiant heat is not very desirable, but not uncommon in condominiums. Especially ones that were built around the 1980s.
Best wishes, Rudi
as an exclusive buyers agent,I would advise you to ask the seller to install an electric wall heater prior to close...even if it is an as-is sale,I think it is a reasonable request...if the seller refuses,you can always install one yourself...if you really love the home that should not deter you...it is an easy fix and not very costly...good luck with your purchase...
EXIT STEPPING STONE REALTY
760 274 3714
DRE # 01250853
the "law" says a home with no heater is not habitable, and unless it's a bank repo you are looking at, the issue will arise for the next guy. the big issue you will run into is the lenders appraiser who should be alerted to this...he will want to cite it. the lender will likely decline to loan on the property.
if you made the offer thinking it had a heater you have just hit a speedbump...heaters are not cheap and even if you are a skilled do-it-yourself type many HVAC supply houses will not sell to homeowners.
when something like that comes up it's a red flag for the whole house...it might be that the heater simply went out last winter and they just didn't get around to repairing it but more likely it points to the style of maintenance that the current owner used...i'd love to see the inspection report on this sale.
Let me know if I can help you in any way!
Joan Wilson (Realtor, SRES, Ecobroker, Certified REO, HAFA, and Short Sale Specialist)
Prudential California Realty
Direct Phone: 760-757-3468
800-975-7481 x 111
License # 01341483
Is the condo a newer condo? Is the heating unit installed but non operational? Is it missing altogether?
I sold a unit in Rancho Carrilo that lacked the heater entirely. Somehow the unit was never installed & the first time home buyer neglected to complain when he purchased new. When I took the listing several years later we were able to go back to the builder to have the missing unit installed. In any case, I would request an operational heating system to be installed prior to the close of escrow. If the seller declines you may decide to cancel your escrow.