Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022: first report to the Scottish Parliament
First report to the Scottish Parliament on the Cost of Living (Tenant) Protection (Scotland) Act 2022, covering the period 28 October to 31 December 2022 as required by section 9(1)(a).
3. Duty to provide information and advice for tenants and steps taken
3.1 Section 3 of the Act requires that Scottish Ministers must take steps to ensure that tenants affected by the provisions of Part 1 receive appropriate information, advice and support.
3.2 In recognition of this, a wide range of information has been published for both private, social and student tenants on the Scottish Government website, as follows:
- information for private tenants on the eviction moratorium and rent cap;
- information for social housing tenants on the eviction moratorium and rent cap; and
- information on the emergency measures for students living in purpose built student accommodation and student halls (in addition, links to this page was also provided via the Student Information Scotland website).
3.3 The above information can also be accessed via the Scottish Government's recently launched Cost of Living portal.
3.4 Wider communication activity to support the measures coming into force and to help drive up awareness of tenants new rights also included:
- a Scottish Government news release on the day the measures came into force across all usual media streams;
- a wide range of social content was launched, including an explainer video – running across the main channels;
- the existing Renters Rights website was updated to include the new measures;
- information on tenants' rights was also included in the Cost of Living leaflet, which was distributed across Scotland (including GP surgeries, libraries, community centres and leisure centres). The leaflet included helpline numbers for organisations able to offer advice and support. This included both Shelter Scotland and Citizens Advice Scotland. The leaflet included a QR code which links to a digital copy of the leaflet, as well as translated and accessible versions;
- direct communications were also issued to all key partners (including tenant and landlord representative bodies, local authority landlords, housing associations and educational establishments) which included an update on the new legislation, and access to the campaign assets (such as website content, videos and images) to enable them to share via their own communication channels;
- direct communication with all registered landlords via local authorities text messaging alert took place;
- direct communication with all registered letting agents;
- engagement with the three Tenancy Deposit Schemes took place, to facilitate dissemination of information with tenants registered to their relevant newsletters – raising awareness and providing further information on the introduction of emergency measures; and
- a direct message to an extensive list of stakeholders, including colleges and university and purpose built student accommodation provider representatives, confirming the nature of the measures and that they have come into force which was sent along with links to information documents.
Cost of Living National Campaign
3.5 Renting rights was one of three policy strands which formed the Cost of Living Support marketing campaign. The campaign launched on 28 September and ran until 22 November 2022.
3.6 The Cost of Living Support campaign comprised different elements such as media, partnership and stakeholder engagement and public relations and signposted audiences to the Cost of Living Support website www.mygov.scot/cost-of-living-support.
3.7 Paid for media ran across different platforms – TV, out of home, radio and digital. Overall paid for activity contributed to three of four referrers of traffic to the website, successfully signposting audiences to further support across the three policy strands.
3.8 The campaign contributed to 79,232 link clicks to the campaign website. For renting rights specific advertising on Facebook and Instagram, one advert received 26,081 link clicks and 2.28% of users who saw the ad clicked through to the website, a strong indicator that the paid for media was reaching the target audience.
3.9 Partnership activity developed bespoke partnerships, for example collaborating with stakeholders who support private sector renters were targeted for meaningful engagement. Partners such as Shelter Scotland and Inverclyde Housing Rights Projects were also key. More widely, the stakeholder toolkit was shared with over 600 contacts with 33 public and third sector bodies. There were 140 downloads of the full toolkit, with a download rate which was far higher than other campaigns, reflecting the importance of the campaign to partners.
3.10 The public relations activity achieved feature articles in 90 Scottish local press titles, in addition to two feature platforms which all promoted the campaign website and the support available.
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