KISSIMMEE, FL-Pulte Homes Corp., a $7.2-billion Bloomfield Hills, MI-based homebuilder, has been fined $9,750 by the Osceola County commission for illegally adding a fourth bedroom to 39 luxury rental homes in the 68-home Windsor Hills subdivision, about five miles from Walt Disney World.

A deal to have Pulte donate $2 million to help build a new center for the Osceola Council on Aging collapsed before the commissioners met to vote on the issue, brokers following the month-long controversy tell GlobeSt.com. At a public hearing, commissioner Paul Owen called the $9,750 fine “a slap on the wrist.”

Pulte officials acknowledged at the hearing they erred in converting garage bays into an extra bedroom at the $311,000 residences. The Michigan company has three weeks to demolish the fourth bedrooms and replace the space as a second garage.

Pulte officials told commissioners they lost at least $250,000 since the county halted all construction at Windsor Hills May 4 when the violations were first noted by the county’s code enforcement division.

Local and national investors frequently purchase the homes for rental purposes to foreign visitors, area brokers who have represented some of the owners in the past, tell GlobeSt.com. Adding an additional bedroom makes the property more valuable as an investment, brokers say.

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