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 whilst Part 1 remains in force.
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 were also provided via the Student Information Scotland website).
3.3 The above information can also be accessed via the Scottish Government's 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 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.
3.5 In addition, renting rights was one of three policy strands which formed the Cost of Living Support marketing campaign. That campaign launched on 28 September and ran until 22 November 2022.
3.6 Scottish Government social media led communications, news releases and direct email communications through Tenancy Deposit Schemes and the Scottish Landlord Register were also undertaken earlier this year to raise awareness of the changes to the emergency legislation from 1 April. This included awareness raising of a tenants' right to seek verification that a rent increase notice issued by their landlord is within the permitted 3% rent cap.
Young Scot Campaign
3.7 We recently collaborated with Young Scot to deliver a Tenants' Rights Awareness Raising Campaign to increase young people's awareness of their rights when renting a property in the private rented sector. The campaign ran for a 2-week period through August and September 2023, timed to support the start of the academic year, and was targeted at young people and students aged 18 to 24. The campaign delivered:
- a dedicated landing hub hosted on young.scot bringing together key information for young people on tenants' rights;
- TikTok/Instagram Reels style videos created by young content creators from Young Scot's 'Creator Collective' group; and
- paid digital marketing activity which ran for two weeks
3.8 One of the main aims of the campaign was to inform young people of the Cost of Living (Tenant Protection) (Scotland) Act 2022 and how, and where, to get support if they feel their rights have been challenged.
3.9 The overall impact of the campaign has been positive, with over 1.2 million impressions, a reach of over 650k and over 70k unique video views. A post-campaign evaluation survey carried out by Young Scot found that, as a result of seeing or engaging with this campaign, of the young people within Young Scot's audience, 80% agreed or strongly agreed that the content was clear about their rights, and 68% agreed or strongly agreed that they are more aware of the opportunity to challenge their landlord when necessary. On the Act, 66% agreed or strongly agreed that they are more informed about the temporary rent cap.
3.10 The campaign has supported young people to access high-quality, relevant and timely information to make informed decisions about renting in Scotland, and to feel empowered to exercise their rights should they need to.
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