Couple Famous for Over-the-Top Christmas Light Displays Are Actually Squatters

A South Florida home known for its over-the-top Christmas lights was revealed to have been illegally occupied for almost two decades, an investigation found.

Kathy Hyatt, a realtor, and her ex-husband Mark, who died in 2020, allegedly “squatted” in the Plantation, Florida, home for 15 years, according to legal documents obtained by PEOPLE from the Broward County Property Appraiser’s investigation. Per the report, there was never a title on the property and it had a “forged deed.”

In this file photo, the Hyatt Extreme Christmas residence in Plantation features a holiday light display that includes a 20-foot Ferris wheel that gives stuffed animals a ride and a 30-foot Christmas tree. (Rebeca Piccardo / Sun Sentinel)

The Appraiser’s office dubbed the investigation “The Nightmare Before Christmas” as the Hyatts were known for going all out with their holiday decorations, covering the house in thousands of colored string lights, festive figures and large glowing lawn ornaments, earning it the nickname the “Hyatt Extreme Christmas” house.

Even that caused some conflicts with neighbors and the city of Plantation over the years.

“There were some legal issues and complaints between the city of plantation and the Hyatts that stemmed from the Christmas lights situation,” Vivian Gallinal, Crimes Against Property Investigator at the appraiser’s office, tells PEOPLE.

The Hyatt’s, a Florida family who rose to fame for their extravagant Christmas decorations, never actually owned the house and squatted on the property for years.

Marty Kiar, the Broward County Property Appraiser, said his office is seeking justice for county taxpayers.

“I am proud of our Crimes Against Property Team for shining the light on the fraud that took place as I am hopeful it will bring the innocent victims a little comfort,” he said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Further, our office is rightfully back taxing the property in the amount of thousands of dollars as our Broward County taxpayers are also the victims of fraud and deserve to be made whole.”

Kathy Hyatt says her late then-husband Mark created a fake deed before the couple broke into the Plantation Acres home and began living in it.

The Homestead Exemption back taxes against the property are $34,724.68, per the appraiser’s office.

While the statute of limitations are up for any criminal charges, according to Gallinal, there is now the issue of who rightfully owns the home to resolve.

The couple found their way into the home and threw out everything the investors had inside so the investor “could not come back and say that he did have possession before we arrived.”

“That part is being sorted out and we’re attempting to determine that. But that takes some time,” she added.

PEOPLE reached out to Kathy Hyatt, but she declined to comment on the matter.

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