Section 11 

Hearings/Hearing Orders

Sub-Section 11.3

Hearings - Substitutional Service


s. 184, The Residential Tenancies Act


Claim: a form filed with the Branch by a landlord, tenant, or co-signer asking the Branch to decide if the person who filed the claim is entitled to money from the person they filed against.

Claimant: a landlord, tenant or co-signer who makes a claim against the other.

Commissioner for Oaths: a person appointed by the Provincial Government to take statements under oath and receive solemn declarations.

Co-signer: a person who signs a tenancy agreement along with the tenant and agrees to be responsible for the obligations of the tenant.  For example: the obligation to pay rent or to pay for damages.

Declaration of Service: a form signed by the person who served the claim. It shows how and when the respondent was given notice that a hearing would take place.

Guarantor: a person who signs an agreement and attempts to guarantee that a tenant will meet the specific obligation set out in the guarantee.  For example: to be responsible for payment of the rent.

Hearing: a meeting where a claimant and respondent present information about their case to an officer to have their claim, application or question decided.

Respondent: a landlord, tenant, or tenant’s co-signer against whom a claim is made.

Substitutional service: an alternate way for a claimant to give a respondent notice of a hearing where service attempts fail. The claimant must apply to the Branch for approval of substitutional service.


Before the Branch approves substitutional service, a claimant must make reasonable attempts to give a respondent a Claim and Notice of Hearing form, or an Application for an Order of Possession, at least five days before
the hearing date
. Reasonable attempts may include:

  • trying to deliver the claim or application in person at the respondent’s home, on different days and at different times;
  • trying to give the claim or application to an adult at the respondent’s home;
  • trying to give the claim or application to the respondent at work; or
  • trying to send the claim to the respondent by registered mail.


If a claimant can’t serve a respondent, they may apply to the Branch for substitutional service.   When applying for substitutional service, the claimant must pay a non-refundable application fee.  The applicant must:

  • explain to the Branch how they tried to give the respondent the claim or application; and

  • suggest how they think they could serve the respondent.

When applying for substitutional service, a claimant must submit the fee with the application.


If a claimant says they’ve tried to serve a respondent by registered mail, without success, they must give the Branch proof of their attempt. For example: They could submit the envelope marked "Unclaimed" or "Refused" by Canada Post.


If a landlord can’t serve an Application for an Order of Possession, the Branch generally allows the landlord to post the application on the door of the rental unit and slide a copy of it under the door or put it in the mailbox.


The Branch may consider the following methods for substitutional service of a claim:

  • sending it to the respondent by prepaid, first class regular mail;
  • delivering it in person to an adult family member or sending it to them by prepaid, first class regular mail;
  • delivering it in person or sending it by prepaid, first class regular mail to the respondent’s employer, if the employer can guarantee the respondent will receive it;
  • placing an advertisement in the legal notice section of a newspaper (see sample).


The Branch must be satisfied that the respondent will likely receive the claim by substitutional service before it will authorize substitutional service.


If the Branch allows substitutional service, it will give the claimant instructions on how to serve the respondent. In some cases, the Branch might reschedule the hearing to make sure the claimant has time to give enough notice of the hearing.


The claimant must give the Branch a declaration of service before the hearing.

The person who served the claim by following the instructions for substitutional service must sign the declaration in front of a Commissioner for Oaths. To speed up the hearing process, the Branch encourages a claimant to have the declaration signed and witnessed before coming to the Branch for a hearing.



An officer receives an Application for Substitutional Service from a claimant. The officer reviews the application to decide whether to allow substitutional service or deny it.

Steps ▼   

1.   An officer reviews the Application for Substitutional Service.

2.   If the officer approves substitutional service, they send the claimant an       Alternative Notice of Hearing form with instructions on how to give the       claim to the respondent. If the officer reschedules the hearing, the form       will also show the new date and time.

3.   If the officer doesn’t believe that substitutional service will be successful,       they will not authorize it. The officer gives the claimant reasons for       denying the application. The officer may suggest other methods for       substitutional service or, suggest that the claimant re-file the claim when       they have a valid address for the respondent.



Forms & Form Letters

Application for Substitutional Services




For more information on substitutional service, see this section under:

For details on Order of Possession, see Section 8.

For information on claims for compensation, see Claims, in Section 9.



Policy Developed

September, 1992

Last Revision

September, 2005


Other Resources




                                           (Name of Respondent)

The Residential Tenancies Branch will hold a hearing at    __________________ A.M./P.M.

on                 _______________            at 302-254 Edmonton Street, Winnipeg, MB, R3C 3Y4

to consider the landlord’s claim in the amount of

$            _____                   


                                                   (i.e. damages, rent, cleaning, costs, etc.)

against you respecting a tenancy at


                                                                                          (address of rental unit)


If you do not attend the hearing, a decision may be made in your absence.


(Name of Claimant)


This ad must:

  • be addressed to the person to whom the notice is being given;
  • give the address of the rental unit;
  • set out the information to be given to the other party;
  • identify the person giving the notice.





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