An apartment is a multi-purpose residential lot, allowing multiple households can reside in the same building. This is a type of lot that was introduced in The Sims 2: Apartment Life. Apartments are arguably a semi-communal residential lot. In The Sims 2: University and The Sims 2: Bon Voyage, dormitories and hotels serve a similar purpose, but neither of these enable multiple households to stay at the same lot simultaneously.
In The Sims 3, penthouses from The Sims 3: Late Night and apartments from The Sims 3: University Life serve as semi-communal residential lots, but work differently from the apartments in The Sims 2: Apartment Life. Neither one allows the player to have multiple households residing on the same lot. A penthouse allows Sims to live in a designated space within a shell building, while an apartment merely allows Sims to have unselectable roommates.
In the neighborhood view, an apartment building can be recognized by the building icon that appears above the lot. If the icon glows bright, it means it has been occupied by at least one household. If it is dim, then it has not been occupied, or all playable households living there are saved on a vacation or an owned community lot. Apartment buildings can be placed in the base neighborhood, downtowns, and business districts, but cannot be placed or made in colleges or vacation destinations. Premade apartments can be found in the Lots and Houses bin under the specialty lots tab.
The players can see the price range of an apartment building by clicking on it in the neighborhood view. If there's a playable household living there, clicking it will show the family information. Pointing at the apartment building will only show which households are living there, and if Seasons is installed, the season of each household. Each household has separate seasonal conditions, so one household can be in heavy snow, while another might be in the middle of summer. This is similar to the traditional residential lots, where each lot has a different world, and all the playable members grow older while other families outside the lot will not change save for any relationship changes with the playable Sims. This mechanism works the same in apartment buildings, except the playable occupants now have neighbors who actually live next door and can be visited.
An apartment building cannot be occupied by more than four different households, no matter how many apartment units are available. This means, once all four slots have been rented by four playable households, the other units will be occupied by a social group townie. Individual apartment households can consist of 8 Sims or 6 pets, with no more than 10 household members total. Roommates will count as pets, so there can actually be 9 Sims in a household. Therefore, one apartment building can hold up to 36 player-controlled Sims. However, the more Sims there are living in an apartment building, the slower the game will perform.
When a household has been moved onto an apartment lot, they will go apartment hunting until they rent an apartment. While apartment hunting, Sims can use any objects in any common areas or interact with the household members or the landlord. The landlord will remain on the lot until Sims rent an apartment. However, there are many things Sims cannot do before they rent an apartment:
- Sims cannot knock on doors or ask members of other existing playable households to come out, and Sims already living in apartments will not come out.
- Sims cannot order groceries or hire services. Only adoption, pet adoption, and matchmaking services can be used.
- Sims cannot go to community lots. Sims can go on a date or outing but without going out anywhere else.
- Sims cannot go on a vacation.
Fortunately, no social class townies will appear to rent any of the vacant apartments until the player selects an apartment for the household to rent. If, by chance, the player decides to quit or switch to another household from the apartment hunting household, players can still continue playing them later. However, if the players play a household that lives in the apartment where the previous one is still hunting, they will never see the apartment hunters anywhere on the lot. They are considered to be not yet living there, and all the vacant slots will be occupied by social group townies. When the apartment hunting household is played again, the slots will still be vacant for rent, though.
Before renting, Sims can check out an apartment. While checking out, the inside of the unit will be visible to the player and accessible to the Sims in the household, and all other apartments except the one Sim is checking out will be dark. This helps players determine which areas belong to each apartment unit. This is just an optional procedure and Sims don't need to check out an apartment before renting it.
To rent an apartment, the player must click an apartment door and choose the Rent interaction. It will show the weekly rent price, which is based on the apartment size and the furniture in its unfurnished state (kitchenware, plumbing, etc.). If Sims can afford to rent the apartment, the renter will approach the landlord and sign the lease.
Once rented, apartment doors can be locked to prevent lot visitors or neighbors from entering the apartment, in addition to the other lock options. Moreover, Sims can lock certain doors to prevent roommates from passing through them.
- Landlords will clean up messes, exterminate roaches, and repair broken things in common areas.
- Landlords will tend all gardening tasks in the common areas as well as in Sims' apartments, even if they lock it.
- Landlords can be requested to repair and exterminate roaches that are in Sims' apartments.
- Landlords will come and complain if an apartment is dirty or noisy.
- Landlords will ask for overdue rent.
Rent is due every Monday. Sims can pay the rent by clicking the apartment mailbox near the street. If Sims don't pay the rent on Monday, the landlord will come to collect the overdue rent by knocking the apartment door. Sims will be forced to pay the rent and the relationship toward the landlord will decrease. If the Sims cannot pay the rent, the relationship damage will be worsened, and the landlord will come again the next day. If Sims don't respond to the landlord or are away while the landlord comes, no relationship damage will occur.
If the rent is overdue for three days or until Friday, the landlord will stop coming but the rent will be added to the bill, which will be sent on the next Tuesday.
The rent can be lowered by:
- Having a roommate.
- Befriending or being romantically involved (-10% reduction), or becoming BFFs (-25% reduction) with the landlord.
- A secret networking benefit (-10% reduction)
Additionally, Sims can get an extra +5% rent from a secret networking penalty. The rent price change will only affect the week after Sims receive the benefits or penalties. A roommate's share depends on how many Sims are in a household. For example, a household with 3 members will deduct one-third of the rent, or with 6 members will deduct one-sixth of the rent. Thus, the smaller the household, the more the roommate's share.
A fire that occurs in an apartment building will be noticed by all apartment tenants. Even if a room that is on fire lacks a smoke detector, a firefighter will eventually arrive to put it out, although the smoke detector will summon them more quickly.
When a fire breaks out, all Sims will leave their apartments, then panic. They will not gather around the fire, unlike Sims on normal residential lots. If there is a baby or toddler in an apartment, an older Sim will carry them out to the mailbox.
Neighbor's apartments cannot be set on fire. Evil witches can cast Inflammo, but the fire will not start.
Since most maintenance services are controlled by the landlord, some service Sims cannot be hired. The services or people that cannot be hired or called include:
Since the apartment garden doesn't belong to the tenant, Sims cannot ask a Garden Club member to inspect or become a member of the Garden Club. Sims can buy the Planthopic-C from the gypsy matchmaker if they turn into plantSims. Sims also cannot run a home business in an apartment.
Additionally, apartment dwellers have a special service: babysitting. Adults or elders can ask teen or older neighbors to babysit their child(ren) by using the "Ask to Watch Kids" interaction. The interaction is never rejected, and the neighbor serves as a babysitter until they are dismissed. Babysitters will have their needs frozen and they will never tend their own problems like going to work or school. The only drawback is that they cannot track the Sims' schedule, so Sims must ask them when they need them. Sims must ask them in person to babysit, so if they are off the lot to work or school, or asleep, Sims must wait until they become available. Babysitters can also be asked to take care of the children and pets if the Sims are going on a vacation.
Every Saturday, the landlord will throw a weekend party; this party is not a scenario event. In this weekend gathering, the landlord will announce it, turn on a communal stereo, make drinks at a communal bar, and grill or order a pizza.
Sims can throw a building party by using the phone. Sims cannot invite particular Sims in the party, but all neighbors count as the invited guests. This party is quite difficult though, because sometimes all the neighbors are away to work or just don't feel like hanging out with the host. They also tend to stay in their apartments, making it harder to socialize.
RoommateEditRoommates are an effective way to reduce the weekly rent. Roommates are treated like pets; they are selectable, but not controllable. Thus, roommates will act on their own free will. They will take care of themselves to replenish their needs, and if they have low enough needs, they will run some errands by going to a community lot, and all their needs will be full. Going to work will also fill up their needs to the top.
Sims can search for a roommate by using the newspaper or computer. Sims can also place an ad over the phone. Occasionally, Sims will receive phone calls from social group townies who want to become a roommate. The number of roommates available by newspaper and computer will decrease if the searching Sim's reputation is worse than Dubious Delinquent. Only social group townies are available as roommates through the newspaper or computer. Sims can ask any townie to become their roommate if their relationships are high enough.
Roommates are only available in an apartment. Roommates have jobs and go to work, but their salary will not contribute to the family funds. Their only contribution is to reduce the rent price. The player cannot access and see a roommate's inventory. The inventory tab will be replaced with Roommate Satisfaction tab. The roommate satisfaction will change depending on their mood and their relationship towards the household members. Unsatisfied roommates are likely to move out if their satisfaction is not improved.
Building in apartmentsEdit
Similar to living in a dorm and hotel, some elements in Build mode are restricted. The noticeable difference is that players can use the Sledgehammer Tool and the Collections feature in apartments. Players are able to add and remove wallpaper/paint, ceilings, landscaping, gardens, and columns. Players cannot remove walls, doors, and windows. Sims can add flooring, but cannot remove it.
There are several objects that are not available to buy in apartments, including the iN Style v1.5/v.2 Closets by Simsational Inc., the built-in closets which Sims can use for a closet WooHoo, and the Very Mysterious Shelving, the secret door bookcase. The player cannot remove these items if they are in the apartment when a household moves in.
Additionally, players can buy some architectural parts, such as cornices and pipes in the Miscellaneous Decorative section. If Mansion and Garden Stuff is installed, the objects appear in the Architectural catalog in the Build Mode, thus disabling it from access. Players however can still buy them if they appear in the collections.
- To see how to build a custom apartment, see Game guide:Building an apartment.
One specialty of living in an apartment is that Sims now have visible neighbors that actually live next door. Sims can socialize with them and gain some benefits by befriending them, or even find a new romance. Vacant apartments are occupied by a selection of social group townies. Thus, neither townies nor downtownies will become apartment neighbors. The type of social group that will occupy the vacant apartments depends on the lot class. Low class apartments will be occupied by gearheads and bohemians, Middle class apartments will be occupied by bohemians, jocks, and techs; and High class apartments will be occupied by techs and socialites. Additionally, the player may move up to four households onto the lot, and each households' members can interact with the others in the same manner.
Fog of privacyEdit
Apartments that are occupied by other households will turn dark with the fog of privacy, similar to dormies' rooms and hotel suites. This helps distinguish which part belongs to the Sims' apartment, as well as to reduce the loading time.
While the apartment is covered in a fog of privacy, the players cannot see objects or Sims inside it. To view the content of the apartment, Sims must knock on the door and be welcomed in. This is a bit different from dorm and hotel fog of privacy, because normally, the player can see what's inside by viewing the inventory or while in Buy mode or Build mode.
Newly moved-in households will be welcomed to the neighborhood, similar to when a household is moved into a single family house. However, in apartments, the welcoming neighbors are all residents on the same apartment lot. Additionally, the manner in which the neighbor Sims introduce themselves is dependent on where the household Sims are.
- If all of the members of the household are inside the apartment, neighbor Sims will come in and introduce themselves.
- If a member of the household is in a common area, neighbor Sims will approach him/her and introduce themselves.
- If none of the members are present, a message will notify the Sims that they are off the lot.
Visiting the neighborsEdit
Sims can also visit their neighbor's apartments by knocking on the neighbor's door. If they haven't met, introducing to neighbors will always accept Sims to enter their apartment. Once accepted, their apartment will load slowly and their objects become visible. The neighbors are always in front of their apartment door.
When knocking, either to enter a neighbor's apartment or to call a neighbor out of theirs, the following conditions must be met:
- The neighbor must be on the lot
- The daily relationship score between the neighbor and the knocking Sim must be at least 30
- It must be between 6 AM and 10 PM.
All objects remain at the state when they were last saved if the neighbor is another playable household. For example, if there is a painting in an easel, the visiting Sims can scrap the painting and use it to paint a new one. Or they can steal a Thinking Cap by bringing it to their own apartment, or break things, or even leave messy trash. This state, however, will not be changed when the other household is played again. The easel remains intact, the Thinking Cap is untouched, things are not broken, and everything is clean, as if neighbors have never visited the place. This can be quite beneficial since neighbors can share things for their own good, such as career rewards.
Some interactions cannot be done while visiting neighbor's apartment. Fires cannot be started while visiting. Sims only have limited, if not at all, interactions to babies, toddlers, kittens, and puppies. Sims cannot pick them up and leave them outdoors. Sims can cook in a neighbor's apartment, but the food points are deducted from their own fridges, not the neighbor's, and they cannot eat at the neighbor's apartment; they will leave to eat after they finish cooking. Sims cannot pass through locked doors in a neighbor's apartment.
Mingling in common areasEdit
Neighbors usually mingle around common areas and use communal objects. This is a good way to socialize with the neighbors. If the apartment door is unlocked to enable them to enter, they will be more likely to spend their time there. They will eventually return to their apartments if their needs become too low.
Neighbors may or may not be available to interact with. Neighbors still have their own responsibilities. They will go to work and school, and their schedule depends on their career. They will depart as soon as the work hour starts, even if they're in the middle of conversation. Playable neighbors won't gain or lose any salary, work performance, school grades, career level, skills or enthusiasm when another household is being played.
Neighbors have a longer bedtime compared to that of other Sims. They go to sleep at 10 PM and wake at 6 AM, and Sims cannot visit nor call them during this time, compared to the usual calling hours for non-apartment Sims. Sims living in apartments can still be called during the usual times by Sims not living on the same lot.
Sims live in close quarters in apartments. This means that what Sims do is everybody's concern. When Sims make loud noises or too many messes, neighbors or the landlord will start complaining. These complaints pop up every 15 minutes and reduce the relationship between the played Sim and the complaining Sim. Receiving complaints drops the responding Sims' actions queue and disturbs sleeping Sims. Sims might respond well or shrug to the complainer. Both responses reduce relationship, but the latter is worse.
However, there are several activities or noises that are prohibited only at night:
- All instruments
- Toy or robot crafting benches
- Model train
- Dog barking
Throwing a party becomes more difficult if started in the afternoon, because it will usually end at nightfall, and neighbors will constantly complain about it. Try throwing one in the middle of the day.
When neighbors make noise, Sims can bang on wall or complain to the neighbor. Both ways will stop the noise, but complaining will reduce the relationship between the complaining Sim and the neighbor that answers the door.
There are several ways to prevent the trigger of noise. If apartments don't share the same walls, neighbors cannot make noise. Apartments that are separated by each story will never produce any noise. Technically, neighbor noise is an invisible object. This invisible object cannot be made if there's no free space adjacent to the wall, so placing objects against the wall will prevent noise from occurring.
The complaints that are caused by smell is similar to noise. If the apartment is full of stinky objects, such as garbage, dirty dishes, or diapers, neighbors will start to ring the bell and complain.
- Death by flies is a tough way to die in apartment, because neighbors will start complaining before Sims can even step on the fly-infested objects.
- Sims cannot throw a new year's bash in an apartment.[TS2:HHS]
- Souvenir benefits can be spread all over the apartment lot by visiting an apartment that owns souvenirs. After that, the benefit will stick to the Sims even after they leave the apartment.[TS2:BV]
- Genie lamp delivery can be intended for anyone who lives in an apartment building, but only the currently played household can accept it. This means the chances are greater because roommates and neighbors count as the eligible Sims.[TS2:FT]
- Date and outing rewards, as well as genie lamps will be stuck in front of Sims' apartments, but they won't appear if other playable households are played.[TS2:NL][TS2:FT]
- If Sims who live in an apartment have an outing in which one of the members is in a neighboring apartment, it will be tricky to go to a community lot. The neighbor must be present on the lot and must be available to go to the community lot. Otherwise, Sims must wait for them until they are present and available. For example, if the outing occurs after 10 PM and the Sims are leaving for the outing by taxi, the taxi will remain unmoved until morning when the neighbor is awake. If the neighbor goes to work in the morning, the taxi will have to wait until they get home. This will not count as standing up other members of the outing, but will waste Sims' time.[TS2:NL]
- The gift that bigfoot usually brings home from work will be stuck in front of the mailbox.[TS2:BV]
- Receiving a restaurant coupon from the apartment mailbox will cause an error.[TS2:NL]
- If Sims who live in an apartment have an outing in which one of the members is in a neighboring apartment, it may cause the game not to recognize the Sim who lives in that apartment. If the player hovers the mouse over the apartment door, it will just say "Unique Separator".[TS2:NL]
- It has been noted that Sims might occasionally be unable to use the spiral staircase, as if something is blocking in their way.