There's a misconception that empty, and especially empty and damaged, homes only exist in bad neighborhoods.
Peruse the abated buildings list and after a page or two, you may notice that there are also legally uninhabitable homes in upscale neighborhoods.
Encino's tony Amestoy Estates has a long-empty house on a huge lot. I was so shocked I checked the address three times; it costs millions of dollars to get into Amestoy Estates.
A real estate listing from 2008 calls it a "Bank Owned REO Fixer" (REO means it was repossessed by the bank). The house, which first entered abatement in 2007, seems to have sold in 2008, and is still on the abated buildings list.
It's a generously sized 3/2 house on close to an acre of land, with a possibly-unpermitted addition that adds 3 more bedrooms, 1.5 more bathrooms, and about 1100 square feet. Somebody put time and money into this house a long time ago.
I couldn't tell you why whoever now owns the house would leave it empty. Perhaps it was in worse shape than expected, perhaps the owner ran out of money...or perhaps they're waiting to flip it.
With the appropriate repairs (whatever they may be), that house could be a nice place to live once again - and with the lot size, the house could certainly be expanded enough to accommodate a large or extended family.
Instead, according to LADBS, it's been sitting empty for 16 years. What a waste!