Watch CBS News

Local grandma loses long battle to save treehouse she calls home

Local grandma loses long battle to save treehouse she calls home
Local grandma loses long battle to save treehouse she calls home 02:04

MIAMI - A local grandmother is trying to figure out her next steps after losing a long battle to save the treehouse where she lives.

Shawnee Chasser has deep roots in her community -- literally.

She bought her Northwest Miami-Dade home almost 20 years ago for her son.

When he passed away, she says she stayed living at the home, but not in it.

Chasser lived in the treehouse on the property for 17 years.

But now, she needs to make different living arrangements.

"In between my smiles, I'm crying. I just built the bedroom a year ago. It's brand new. It's the most beautiful bedroom in the world. They said the treehouse was unsafe, so I moved from the treehouse to the ground thinking I was doing the right thing," Chasser said.

While she loves outdoor living, some of her neighbors have taken issue with her lifestyle.

Complaints lead to County Code Enforcement's involvement.

CBS News Miami featured her in 2016 when her treehouse troubles began to grow.

She's been collecting fines ever since.

Chasser says she owes thousands of dollars in fees for violations.

"Seven years, I'm so over it. I'm glad it's coming to an end. I don't care if I have to put my mattress out here and sleep at night out here," Chasser said. "I'm tired of fighting. I'm especially tired of Code. I need to be done with them. I need to have my life back and enjoy this property without feeling there's something heavy over it."

Chasser says part of the home on the ground will be demolished Monday and the treehouse will come down on September 18th. 

She says tearing it down will cost her an additional $30,000.

"I don't know what we're going to do with me, 'cause I have to sleep outside," Chasser said. "I can't live in a house. I've been living outdoors literally for 48 years."

In a message to CBS News Miami late Friday night, the county says it hasn't taken any action and is working to get Chasser's property in compliance.

Chasser says she has no plans to move indoors. In fact, she says air conditioning gives her anxiety.

She says her next home will be an outdoor dwelling, just with proper permitting. 

Shawnee Chasser - TreeHouse
Shawnee Chasser's Tree House (Source: Facebook)
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.