Canterbury City Council has accused the Ministry of Defence of “utterly negligent behaviour” over homes left empty and prone to vandalism on the former Howe Barracks site.
It says the 33 properties in Sobraon Way would be perfect for families and thereby help it reduce its housing waiting list.
Instead they have fallen into disrepair and been damaged by vandals.
The houses are owned by property company Annington but have been leased to the MoD, which no longer has a use for them.
But the city council says the homes have remained empty and accuses the MoD of showing ” no interest in bringing them back into a habitable condition”.
It adds that local taxpayers will have to pay for the repair bills in the hundreds of thousands.
Council Leader Cllr Simon Cook said: “This is utterly negligent behaviour by the Ministry of Defence. They have denied many families a home and our view is that they should be ashamed of what’s happened.
“To be absolutely clear, we have made the running with the MoD from the moment we were aware these properties could be available, in order to try and secure them for local families.
“Hundreds of officer hours have gone into this and we even got as far as starting the procurement process in order to secure a contractor to renovate the homes as quickly as possible should a deal have been done.
“Sadly the MoD has shown total disinterest in negotiating with us and no understanding of how important this issue is to us and our residents.
“Despite our constant chasing, it has been impossible to get them to engage on any serious level.”
The homes are being passed back to Annington and the council says it will continue to pursue negotiations with Annington with a view to making use of them.