Hackathon finds digital solutions to improve private renting

A three-day hackathon over last weekend saw seven teams comprising technical and entrepreneurial minds from across Scotland compete against each other to find new digital solutions to help improve private renting for everyone involved in the sector.

Product Forge partnered with Shelter Scotland and SafeDeposits Scotland Trust to run the ‘Generation Rent Product Forge’.

New digital solutions were explored that covered a broad area of private renting challenges such as accessible technology, landlord rating, repair tracking, tenant education, tenants’ rights, property distribution, and renters’ community inclusion.


The winning team called InfoInclusion pitched a ‘Housing Helper’ - an advice portal that could offer housing advice and information for people with accessibility issues or poor understanding of English – making it easier for them to understand their housing rights.

Participants had access to talks, guidance from mentors with a diverse range of backgrounds, as well as numerous datasets including Shelter Scotland’s web analytics and helpline volume data, Zoopla housing data, Citylets DataHub, national EPC data, and housing data from the National Records of Scotland and the Office of National Statistics.

The judging panel comprised Adam Lang, head of communications & policy at Shelter Scotland, Thomas Ashdown, managing director at Citylets, Victoria Smith, operations manager at SafeDeposits Scotland and Linda Bendle of the Community Justice Scotland Board and Shelter Scotland committee.

The winning InfoInclusion team

Conrad Rossouw, digital manager at Shelter Scotland, said: “The number of people renting in Scotland has tripled since 1999 and, last year, 46% of calls to our free national helpline come from people who are renting privately, so there are obviously huge problems to overcome in the sector. This was a great opportunity to gather ideas and develop innovative solutions in a short space of time.

“I congratulate ‘Info Inclusion’ on their winning idea – it could provide a digital solution to a very practical challenge faced by many.”

Conrad added: “It was a fun and engaging event. Thanks to everyone who took part. Thanks also to Product Forge for running the event and Safe Deposit Scotland for its sponsorship.”

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