Section 2

Tenancy Agreements

Sub-Section 2.10

Substitution of Services or Facilities


s. 61(4), The Residential Tenancies Act
s. 6(1) & (2), Residential Rent Regulation


Anniversary date: the date on which a landlord is entitled to increase the rent on a rental unit. In some residential complexes, all units have the same anniversary or rent increase date. In other complexes, the anniversary dates may be spaced throughout the year. A landlord can usually increase rent only once every 12 months.

Services & facilities: something provided to the tenant as part of their tenancy agreement. For example: cable TV, lockers, building security.

Substitution: to replace a service or facility with something of similar or equivalent value.


A landlord must apply to the Branch in writing to substitute a service or facility. The landlord should apply before making any changes. There isn’t an actual application form for the landlord to complete; the landlord should send a letter to the Branch outlining their proposal. The landlord should apply to the Branch at least one month before they plan to substitute the service or facility.


Whenever possible, a landlord should give each tenant, affected by the substitution, notice of the change. The landlord should notify the tenants at the same time as they send their application to the Branch.


When a landlord applies for a substitution of a service or facility, the tenants affected by the change have the right to come to the Branch to inspect the landlord’s application and supporting material. If the residential complex is outside Winnipeg, Brandon or Thompson, the Branch arranges for the tenants to inspect a copy of the file in or near their community. To inspect a file, tenants must show two pieces of identification to prove that they live at the residential complex.


Tenants can comment, in writing, about the application. The landlord has the right to see and respond in writing to any comments the tenants give to the Branch. While tenants and landlords may discuss the file with Branch staff, the Branch will consider only written comments when making a decision on an application for substitution.


When inspecting a file, tenants and landlords can’t remove any information from the file or photocopy it. They can make their own written notes about the material. The Branch does not have the authority to provide photocopies of this information.


Sometimes the substitution is beyond the landlord’s control. If this happens, the landlord must still apply to the Branch, but the landlord can apply after they’ve made the substitution.


The Branch decides if the service or facility the landlord plans to substitute has the same value as the service or facility offered in the current tenancy agreement. If the substitution is of a lesser value, the Branch may decide to reduce the rent as compensation for the reduced value.


If the Branch issues an Order reducing the rent, the Branch will also say when the tenants will start to pay the "new" rent. This Order doesn’t affect or change the anniversary date on a rental unit. For example: A landlord increases rent on the anniversary date, June 1, 2001. The landlord then applies to substitute a service or facility. The Branch issues an Order reducing the rent effective November 1, 2001. On June 1, 2002, the landlord is entitled to increase the rent again.


Here are some examples of substitution of services or facilities:

  • changes to building codes, fire and safety bylaws;For example: The City of Winnipeg changed their By-law to improve life safety in Existing Residential Occupancies. This change meant that landlords had to modify the garbage chutes located on each floor in their buildings. In some older buildings, the landlords could not do the work necessary to make their chutes comply with the by-law. These landlords had no alternative, but to seal off the chutes on each floor and provide a central garbage disposal facility;

  • changes in industry standards or practices; For example: Landlords who provide cable TV programming might decide to change to satellite TV instead.



The officer considers the landlord’s application and tenants’ comments, and estimates the value of both the original and new service or facility. The officer decides if the substitution of the service or facility is of equal value. The officer issues an Order.

Steps ▼

1.When a landlord applies to the Branch for a substitution of service or facility, the officer reviews the application. If necessary, the officer sends the landlord a letter asking for any missing information or supporting material.

2.When the officer has all the information required, they send a letter to the tenants affected by the change to advise them that the landlord has applied to substitute a service or facility. The letter invites the tenants to:

    • review the information on file; and
    • provide written comments.

3.If the officer receives written comments from tenants, the officer will either discuss the information with the landlord by telephone or invite the landlord to review and comment about the tenant’s statements in writing.

4.The officer considers the landlord’s information and the tenants’ comments.

5.The officer makes a decision and issues an Order. If the service or facility is of equal value, this Order confirms the rent. If the service or facility is not of equal value, the Order states the amount of rent reduction required to offset, or make up for, the difference and the effective date of the reduction.

Forms & Form Letters


For information on withdrawal of a service, see Section 13.

Policy Developed

September, 1992

Last Revision

May, 2015

Other Resources




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