Realtors selling homes in Carlsbad say it's getting harder to do their job.
For two months, they’ve been trying to figure out who’s been taking their open house signs on weekends without them knowing it.
"Open houses are a tried and true method for us as realtors,” said realtor Simeon Ziff.
That's why Ziff was upset when his signs set up in Carlsbad started disappearing.
“We thought maybe they were stolen. They stole seven signs. The A-frames are expensive,” said Ziff.
Ziff spread the word on social media and found others in the real estate industry in Carlsbad have experienced the same thing.
Loan officer Michael Greco noticed a woman one weekend picking up open-house signs. He decided to follow her and record her in action.
"Sure enough, she grabbed up three more signs and she had a trunk full of open house signs,” said Greco.
It turns out the signs are not being stolen. It's actually the city that's taking those signs.
"The way the city is handling it is just in poor taste,” said Greco.
The woman in the video is the City of Carlsbad’s Code Compliance Manager, Kerry Jezisek. She acknowledged it is her in the video. She says the signs they scooped up were set up illegally.
10News asked why the city is cracking down on signs now.
"It's because the campaign season began. During this season, we began working seven days a week which included weekends. And open houses occur on the weekends. And during that time, we've been looking for all signage that's illegal,” said Jezisek.
She says they found most signs set up right on the sidewalk instead of 10 feet away from the edge of the sidewalk.
"I was surprised we weren't given any notification,” said Ziff.
The city admits it fell short on that this time.
“Going forward, we're absolutely partnering with the realty community,” said Jezisek. "I think it’s important to understand that we really are trying to protect our citizens.”
The city plans to meet with realtors in March to review the city's law. In the meantime, all those signs collected are available for pickup and the city says it won't charge any penalties this time.
10News checked with two other major cities in the county. The City of San Diego replied saying it has a similar law as Carlsbad, but it relies on the real estate industry to, in its words, "self manage" and not keep the signs up for any long period of time.