Landlords, tenants, estate agents, and others involved in private rental will team up with technologists later this month for a three-day hackathon aimed at solving issues within the sector.

Product Forge is partnering with Shelter Scotland and SafeDeposits Scotland to run the competitive hackathon at Whitespace in Edinburgh beginning Thursday 16 November.

Involving data scientists and analysts, entrepreneurs, designers, software engineers, and developers, the event will focus on creating innovations to solve challenges surrounding critical issues within the private rental sector such as education, and conflict resolution.

The proportion of households in Scotland renting privately from a landlord or a letting agent has more than doubled in the last ten years to 14%.

Over the course of the weekend, participants from a broad range of backgrounds will unite to work on prototypes using guidance from private rental sector experts, and the wider technology community.

The Renting Scotland Product Forge will serve as an opportunity to expand professional networks, address and fix issues within the sector, and launch a new product or company.

Participants will receive mentoring, 10 free meals and 24 hour access to the venue. The top ranking teams can access support to develop their concept further. You can register here.

Last month, coinciding with World Homelessness Day, Shelter Scotland launched an online, mobile friendly ‘I Need Help’ button, aimed at providing immediate help for people in crisis and facing homelessness.

When someone accesses the button via their mobile phone or online, the geo-positioning enabled tool points people to their nearest help point, such as their local authority housing/homelessness support team or third sector help.

‘I Need Help’ was developed by Shelter Scotland following a weekend-long hackathon last year which saw the idea of the help button win top spot.  Funding was then secured from Comic Relief to enable its development, testing and roll-out.

The button has also been designed using open-source technology which means it can be adapted by other third sector/not-for-profit organisations to offer their service users appropriate and timely support or information.