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The Sims Apartments: A History Spanning Over 15 Years

the sims apartments featured

Apartments in The Sims franchise have been a feature we’ve seen in earlier iterations of The Sims games. Specifically, we first saw The Sims apartments make an appearance back in The Sims 2 era. Now, with The Sims 4 For Rent expansion, we are going to be able to create apartments in ways we’ve not been able to do in the past.

So join us while we take a look at the history of The Sims Apartments as well as what we can expect from The Sims 4 For Rent expansion pack.

The Sims

The original The Sims game didn’t include apartments, just a selection of residential and commercial lots. While the features of the game, compared to later instalments, could be considered more basic, that didn’t stop players from letting their imagination run free when building.

It does leave you wondering what The Sims apartments could have looked like had they been a feature in the original game.

ts1logo
The Sims logo

The Sims 2

This is the era where we saw The Sims apartments added for the very first time. Specifically in the highly popular expansion, The Sims 2 Apartment Life. Additionally, during The Sims 2’s lifetime, we saw the addition of partially communal residential lots through expansions such as The Sims 2 University with Dormitories and The Sims 2 Bon Voyage with hotels.

Apartment Life was the final expansion pack released for The Sims 2. Initially released in August 2008, the expansion pack added a wide variety of features to The Sims 2.

The expansion introduced us to the world of Belladonna Cove, a real mix of a world featuring varying apartment buildings in different styles. It allowed us to have up to four households living in the same apartment block.

Via The Sims on YouTube

While your Sims couldn’t purchase an apartment to own, your Sims’ could rent their apartment for a weekly cost. Every Monday, like clockwork, the Landlord NPC would visit to collect rent. Rent would vary depending on the size as well as interior and exterior factors.

The addition of apartments was a game-changer for the game! Opening up more gameplay possibilities and storytelling ideas!

While technically you couldn’t build an apartment, you could get around this by using console cheats.

However, this The Sims Apartments expansion also added more than just apartments. We saw the addition of roommates, butlers and witches added to the game. That’s not to mention the likes of social class, reputation and social group Townies too. Build mode expanded with the addition of ceilings. the measuring tape tool and advanced wall decoration.

The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS

It’s important to remember that The Sims 2 Apartment Life was also featured on Nintendo DS. This instalment was titled The Sims 2 Apartment Pets and was the follow-on from The Sims 2 Pets on Nintendo DS. The combination of the two, accompanied by a storyline and, released alongside The Sims 2 Apartment Life on PC.

The Sims 3

The Sims apartments worked slightly differently in The Sims 3 as opposed to The Sims 2.

Late Night Expansion

Launched in October 2010, The Sims 3 Late Night introduced us to penthouses-style apartments. While these weren’t actually apartments per se, they were still located in an apartment-style building. You only had control over one household. Interactions from the outside world were usually from randomly selected townie Sims as opposed to neighbouring Sim households.

Via The Sims on YouTube

This expansion also introduced us to the world of Bridgeport which was perfect for these penthouse-style apartment buildings. We also saw the return of Vampires as well as a number of NPCs including Butlers, celebrities and paparazzi to name a few.

On the other hand, The Sims 3 University Life which was released in March 2013, added apartment options and were very similar to dormitories.

Again, Sims could only rent and not buy these apartments and would feature NPC-style roommates. Rent was collected weekly and varied depending on the value of the lot.

University Life Expansion

Unlike The Sims 3 Late Night, University Life added the Sims University World which was essentially just a university town featuring various residential areas as well as communal lots and of course the university campus. Players could also have their Sims host and attend various parties, enjoy the benefits of attending university as well as getting a chance to network through new features such as blogging and streaming.

TS3 UniversityLife Origin Exclusive
The Sims 3 University Life Expansion

While these were both great additions to The Sims 3, they worked differently from those in The Sims 2. This time, while these were a mix of communal and residential lots, your Sims essentially lived in an almost rabbit hole of a building with pre-determined roommates.

Even though these The Sims apartments were not as in-depth as players had seen in The Sims 2, it still gave the option of being able to have that apartment-style living to a point.

The Sims 4

Two years after the release of The Sims 4, players were excited to see The Sims apartments making a return to the most recent instalment of the franchise.

The Sims 4 City Living

Released in November 2016 and a year later on console, the San Myshuno world added the option to live in apartments and penthouses.

While the exterior walls of these new apartments could not be edited, players could freely design and change the interior however they wanted. The buildings themself were essential a shell however, depending on which building you lived in, could be a small communal area featuring other apartments alongside your own. This is where players would also find the community noticeboard detailing upcoming events, for example, mailboxes and garbage chutes.

Rent again was weekly and would vary depending on the value of the apartment.

The Sims 4 City Living Official Apartments Trailer 082
The Sims 4 City Living Apartment as featured in the City Living Trailer

As for neighbours, these would be other pre-made households or households the player has created. Players could also play as the other neighbouring apartments if they wished but would not be able to control multiple households at the same time.

Penthouses on the other hand could be freely created with no restrictions other than the lot size.

In addition to having the freedom to customize the interior of their chosen apartment, players could also add certain lot traits which could have either a positive or negative effect on the player.

The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle

In June 2020, we saw The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle released and again, this expansion pack added two more apartment buildings where players could live in an apartment building. Much the same as the City Living expansion pack, these The Sims apartments acted in the same way.

The Sims Apartments
Stonestreet Apartments #3 from The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle Expansion

However, even with apartments/penthouses appearing in two expansion packs, players have still be unable to truly create their own apartment buildings in the game.

The Sims 4 For Rent

The upcoming third expansion for The Sims 4 this year, is For Rent. It’s already shaping up to be an expansion filled with lots of exciting new features. More so, the new apartment options and building possibilities.

Currently, there is still a lot of information we don’t know, however, between the reveal trailer and what the SimGuru’s have shared we are slowly getting an idea as to what we can expect.

For Rent 6 Units maximum

What we do know is that we will be able to have up to six units on any one lot. This means a full eight-Sim household can live in each unit. That’s a whopping forty-eight Sims in one lot!

We also know that we will be able to build apartment buildings in any lot in any world! This really gives Build Newcrest a new meaning as well as building in general going forward!

Lastly, we know that it will be easy to convert to the new Residential Rental lot type, as confirmed by SimGuruNova.

There’s still a lot to discover when it comes to The Sims apartments in the upcoming expansion, however, based on what we know so far. Stay tuned to Sims Community as we will be keeping you up to date with all the latest information and news from the upcoming expansion.


The Sims apartments have certainly come a long way since they were first introduced to the game. While each instalment has had some variations, each has come with its own unique charms along the way.

Let us know what you think about The Sims apartments in the comment section below as well as what you are looking forward to in the upcoming expansion pack!

About the author

Krista

Hey, I'm Krista! Long time Simmer and Sims Community Staff. You'll usually find me hanging out in our Discord, in-game or creating articles!

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