Electric water heater disconnect

Should a electric water heater disconnect be located at the electrical panel or in the same room as the electric water heater? would this be considered a defect?

The presence of a 30A circuit breaker labeled for the water heater is not likely a defect. The overcurrent device is a necessity. The absence of a disconnect in sight of the water heater (since there is no lockout on the breaker and assuming the breaker is not in the line of sight to the water heater) would be a defect.

Thanks, yes the water heater and the breaker are both in the basement but the water heater is in a separate room with sliding doors in the basement, not in direct site. door needs to be open to see the water heater.
thank you

It can be in the panel if it’s within sight of the water heater which according to the NEC that means within 50’.

And if not in sight, it’s okay if the breaker is a lock-out type breaker, am I understanding correctly?

Yes that would be code compliant.