A grandmother is being forced to tear down the treehouse she has lived in for almost two decades after it was deemed “unsafe”.

Shawnee Chasser, 72, has accumulated around $40,000 in fines from Miami-Dade County over violations of codes and concerns that the treehouse may be hazardous.

Located in Northwest Miami, Ms Chasser has lived in her self-built treehouse for 17 years, which is located on her own property.

However, after seven years of fighting to keep her home, she has decided to succumb to the demands of the county.

She originally bought a property for her son, but moved into the treehouse next to the house after he died, CBS News Miami reported.

She built her house around a large tree on the property, equipped with a kitchen and a living room.

“I’ve always lived outdoors. For me, it’s the only way to live,” Ms Chasser told 7News Miami. “I have to hear the rain and the wind at night. If I don’t, I go crazy, and I’m claustrophobic.”

Ms Chasser’s neighbours were not pleased with her tree living arrangements and reported her to the Miami-Dade County and the Building Code Enforcement Department in 2016.

Ms Chasser’s treehouse come equipped with a bedroom, kitchen and living room


A GoFundMe page set up by Ms Chasser, states that she had been fined  $11,320 and $11,481.50 in one day for violating a zoning law in Florida, as well as “unauthorized use within a single-family residential district.”

Ms Chasser rejected the orders of the county and has since collected fines amassing to $40,000.

Despite her efforts, Ms Chasser has decided to comply with the demands that have been set against her and said she will start tearing down her structure on 18 September.

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“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,” Ms Chasser said to CBS. “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.”

However, the cost to even tear it down will amount to a hefty sum of $30,000.

Ms Chasser built the treehouse on the same property on her son’s house after he died


“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,” Ms Chasser said.

“I’m not a fighter, you know? I fought against the Vietnam War,” she said. “I’m done fighting, and I just want peace.”

However, Ms Chasser is fighting the societal standard of living inside, instead, she is looking to find another outside accommodation.

On the GoFundMe page raising money to meet her costs, it states: “Shawnee has always lived outside of the box, literally and figuratively. She cannot live indoors and needs to live close to the earth and in alignment with her beliefs. A person should not be punished for this way of living, it should be celebrated. Her lifestyle is also very low impact and simple, which aids in the abundance of resources for others to simply live.”

Miami-Dade County told CBS that it hasn’t taken any action and is working to get Ms Chasser’s property in compliance.

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