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Strangers restore home after trashed by drug-addicts

LIKE NEW: Toowoomba resident Manna 'Billy' Culgan was at risk of being black-listed from renting, until relative strangers like Gav Hinds helped him repair serious damage done to his rental property after the people he lived with trashed it.
LIKE NEW: Toowoomba resident Manna 'Billy' Culgan was at risk of being black-listed from renting, until relative strangers like Gav Hinds helped him repair serious damage done to his rental property after the people he lived with trashed it. Tom Gillespie

MANNA "Billy'' Culgan was facing the prospect of never being able to rent in Toowoomba again.

But a group of relative strangers gave the 19-year-old a second chance after his Centenary Heights home was trashed by a group of drug-addicted people.

Handyman Gav Hinds and six other people, who met Mr Culgan through a construction certificate class at Downs Group Training, dedicated hundreds of hours over three weeks repairing serious damage to the property.

Mr Culgan said he left the house three months ago, but forgot to take his name off the lease.

Some of the damage done to Manna Culgan's house in Centenary Heights by people he was living with.
Some of the damage done to Manna Culgan's house in Centenary Heights by people he was living with. Contributed

"I left about three months ago, I couldn't stand living that way and going down that path," he said.

"I went back after being paid and learnt we were so many weeks behind (on rent) and we were hit with an eviction notice.

"Before that notice, I went to get my name taken off (but I couldn't), so we went in to see if we could do some quick repairs."

Some of the damage done to Manna Culgan's house in Centenary Heights by people he was living with.
Some of the damage done to Manna Culgan's house in Centenary Heights by people he was living with. Contributed

Mr Culgan said he couldn't believe the damage to the house's walls, windows and doors when he returned.

"There were 16 holes around the walls, golden paint sprayed around the kitchen," he said.

"There were three of six dining room chairs smashed, and there were a few small drill holes in the table.

"There were three smashed windows, and one window that wasn't even there.

"There was spew in the kitchen sink and the toilet, and human faeces nearly six-foot high up the walls."

Some of the damage done to Manna Culgan's house in Centenary Heights by people he was living with.
Some of the damage done to Manna Culgan's house in Centenary Heights by people he was living with. Contributed

With Mr Culgan the only leaseholder left responsible, the destruction to the house would have blacklisted him with every agent in town.

Mr Hinds said when he heard about the situation, he and other classmates volunteered to help repair the house.

He said if their time hadn't been donated, it would've cost more than $15,000 in labour and materials.

LIKE NEW: Some of the improvements made to Manna 'Billy' Culgan's house in Centenary Heights after the people he was living with trashed it.
LIKE NEW: Some of the improvements made to Manna 'Billy' Culgan's house in Centenary Heights after the people he was living with trashed it. Tom Gillespie

"I got to know Billy and we'd become friends and he told me the problem," Mr Hinds said.

"We were here for about two weeks and it got to a point when we called the class and asked us to help.

"There were holes in the walls, broken windows.

"(Billy) would've been blacklisted if we hadn't fixed anything - we probably would've done $15,000 worth of work."

The group re-painted every wall in the house and living room ceiling, plastered over every hole and cleaned every inch of the interiors.

LIKE NEW: Toowoomba resident Manna 'Billy' Culgan was at risk of being black-listed from renting, until relative strangers like Gav Hinds helped him repair serious damage done to his rental property after the people he lived with trashed it.
LIKE NEW: Toowoomba resident Manna 'Billy' Culgan was at risk of being black-listed from renting, until relative strangers like Gav Hinds helped him repair serious damage done to his rental property after the people he lived with trashed it. Tom Gillespie

With his final inspection due today with the real estate agent, Mr Culgan said he couldn't believe the kindness of strangers.

"Honestly, I'll just be relieved when I can say it's finished," he said.

"It has become a major part of the healing process (after what happened) - it's been my saviour at the moment."

Topics:  rental accommodation toowoomba



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