Published: 16:00, 01 October 2020
| Updated: 18:09, 01 October 2020
Councils have today taken back control of about 17,000 homes which were formerly under the management of scandal-hit East Kent Housing.
Seventy new jobs have been created across the four districts as a result of the changes.
East Kent Housing (EKH) was at the centre of a scandal in 2019, when it was discovered its management of properties was riddled with systemic failings.
Thousands of safety rulings had been flouted, and the councils' chief executives admitted they "had no choice" but to axe the board and work towards dismantling the operator.
Now, after consulting with tenants and leaseholders, the councils have taken back control of the management.
A joint statement from bosses at each of the authorities, reads: “The idea of taking council housing back in house was overwhelmingly backed by those tenants and leaseholders who took part in a comprehensive consultation last year.
“All four councils are determined to put the needs of tenants and leaseholders at the heart of the four housing services that have been established as evidenced by the creation of an extra 70 frontline posts.
“We want them to see real improvements to the service they receive and the way their homes are managed.
“We realise this is not a magic wand and it will not solve every problem overnight. This incredibly complex project is just the start of the journey and there is a lot of hard work ahead of us.
“We would like to thank EKH and council staff for putting in an enormous amount of work behind the scenes to make this process run as smoothly as possible.
“The loyalty, professionalism and dedication of staff at all levels means EKH has been able to prepare its services and team for transfer to the councils while delivering an improving service to tenants day after day."
"All four councils are determined to put the needs of tenants and leaseholders at the heart of the four housing services..."
Since last year's scandal - which uncovered a severe lack in gas, electrical, legionella and fire safety tests - the councils have been rectifying the failings EKH left them with.
They were deemed to be acting unlawfully for allowing EKH to flout health and safety rules.
The councils now hope to significantly improve the management of their homes by taking back control.
Canterbury City Council leader Ben Fitter-Harding said: "I'm very glad to have it under our control.
"It's exciting to welcome staff on board, bring the service in-house and improve it for tenants.
"It's a service we haven't had control over for a long time."