Our 2nd hackathon was held at CodeBase Edinburgh over the weekend 22nd/25th March. We were once again helped along the road by Product Forge and they brought on an additional partner, Safe Deposit Scotland Trust. We were hoping to emulate the success of our first hackathon, which saw the winning idea, the ‘I Need Help’ button, go on to win funding from Comic Relief.

The private rented sector has tripled over the last 20 years and for many of us, it will be home of choice for the foreseeable future. The practices and process in the PRS have not matched up to the policy and regulation changes in recent times. Paper based forms such as leases and inventories are common place.

The teams chat to Tom Youll, from Shelter Scotland.

We asked participants to come up with ideas, products and services that would demonstrate how technology can better help the landlords’ and tenants’ experience of the PRS.

Over the weekend participants had access to talks and guidance from mentors with a diverse range of backgrounds. They also had 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.

Seven teams were formed on Thursday evening and worked through the weekend to come up with their ideas which they then presented to a panel of judges on the Sunday. The ideas that we saw being created included: building digital innovations on accessible technology, landlord rating, repair tracking, tenant education, tenants’ rights, property distribution, and renters’ community inclusion.

The Hackathon teams hard at work.

The winning team, Info Inclusion, built an accessible version of advice for people who are digitally excluded and who find it hard to access the correct housing advice when needed. The runners up Good Rentals created an inventory and property management app that would improve communication between landlord and tenant and would hopefully reduce the need to enter formal deposit mediation at the end of the tenancy.

One of the teams presents their ideas.

If you would like to see the weekend happen before your eyes, then search #generationrentpf on Twitter.

What happens now? Hopefully we can work with the winning team to explore their idea further and to see if we can identify possible funding opportunities which will help to implement it in the future.