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The 8 best new things to do in The Sims 4 For Rent expansion pack

From becoming a neighbourhood despot to improving your kitchen layout, there's a good amount of new stuff to do in the latest DLC.

A landlady and her young male tenant argue about rent and housing conditions in the well-appointed lobby of an apartment building. In the background, another tenant retrieves her mail from the mailboxes, while a sinister gnome crouches at her feet.
Image credit: Maxis / Electronic Arts

The Sims 4 For Rent expansion pack is launching later today, and even though Sims EPs can admittedly be a mixed bag, there's a lot to be excited about with this one. For Rent is ticking off a lot of items from the long collective wish list of The Sims fandom, bringing with it a mix of highly-anticipated returning features, and franchise firsts that some of us have been hoping to see for as much as two real-world decades.

After previewing the pack, I've put together a list of all the most exciting new features I saw in The Sims 4 For Rent — and honestly, it's a packed line-up this time around. Even after a short time with the game I came away with the impression that while For Rent may not be flawless, it's going to rapidly climb high up to a "must-buy" spot on many Simmers' DLC tier lists.


Build and live in multi-household dwellings

The major draw of the For Rent pack for many Simmers is the ability to create apartment buildings and play as multiple households within them. The Sims 4 has technically flirted with this concept before in the City Living and Eco Lifestyle expansion packs, but crucially the apartment buildings featured in those add-ons were shells — meaning that the player couldn't edit the structure of the buildings, let alone determine how many units there were, and play was limited to apartments with entrances on the same level of a building even if the place was aesthetically done up to look like a high-rise.

For Rent does away with this limitation by adding a new lot type, called "residential rentals", which allows you to assign a lot as a multi-household dwelling that you can freely edit. While the central theme is apartment buildings, you're not limited to that style, and we've already seen players eagerly creating semi-detached and terraced houses, trailer parks, retirement villages, student-y bedsit lets, and basically anything that's not limited to a single-family dwelling standing on its own plot of land.

An apartment building in The Sims 4 For Rent being edited by the player.
Image credit: Electronic Arts

Live out your wildest parasitic dreams

Unfortunately, it looks like our confident prediction that zombies could be returning to The Sims — potentially with a bit of a Last Of Us style twist this time around — were unfounded, and you won't actually be able to become a member of the living dead in The Sims 4 For Rent. Still, we were half right in that there is an icky new fungal death type — Death by Mold — arriving with the pack.

You need to have applied the Mold lot challenge for it to take effect. In these damp properties, failure to keep on top of the cleaning will result in an outbreak of mould that can, if left unchecked, mutate into a deadly black mould that fatally infects Sims who touch it. Interestingly, EA seem to be placing the blame for black mould squarely on the shoulders of the tenants in the properties in question, since not doing your dishes or regularly cleaning plumbing objects are the major risk factors and not, you know, a criminal lack of maintenance on the building's structure.

Wait, when I said parasite, did you think I meant…? Oh, well, since you mention it…

Be the worst Sim you can be with land grabbing, snooping, and even blackmail!

Yes, the title of the pack really does say it all: for the first time in The Sims franchise history, your playable Sims can own residential properties and rent them out to other Sims. You can, in theory, take on this responsibility in truly benign fashion, following the game's optional prompts to diligently care for your tenants and foster an almost utopian community in your neighbourhood.

Or — and I'm just putting it out there — you can take being the absolute worst to new heights. Buy up all the properties in the area, squeeze everyone else into exploitative short-term rental agreements, and then — the cherry on the cake — use the new secrets system to snoop around their rental units, gathering info on each and every one of them. You can even use that dirty laundry to extort a few extra Simoleons out of your unlucky neighbours, if you're feeling particularly wicked.

The whole point of The Sims is that the choice is yours! Who knows what you're going to do. Really, it's a mystery.

A group of neighbours socialise together in an apartment building courtyard.
Image credit: Maxis / Electronic Arts

Make your Sims' lives harder with the return of some unfriendly faces

While you still can't be the victim of a burglary in The Sims 4 — one of the more counterintuitively popular features not to make a return from previous games — you can now have your Sim become a burglar, breaking into neighbours' homes and just straight-up stealing their stuff. This is nominally added as part of your greater fact-finding mission to gather neighbourhood secrets, but you can actually do it at your discretion, making burglary a viable off-the-books way of making money in this game. Good news if you were hoping for a new active career.

For those who like to see their Sims' life filled with hazards, another couple of welcome features are making a return in the form of the exterminator NPC, who you can summon to deal with vermin outbreaks if you have the appropriate lot challenge active. And while the Repo-Man NPC already made a return in the Discover University expansion pack, now your landlord can cut out the middleman and "repossess" a bunch of your stuff for themself if you're late paying your rent! Truly video game wish fulfilment at its finest (assuming you're playing as the landlord).

Do an honest day's work for an honest day's pay with a new part-time career

For a wholly more ethical way to turn a buck, though, you can actually sign up as a handyperson thanks to the pack's new part-time career track. There's still a comparative dearth of blue collar job options in The Sims 4, which on the whole would rather let you live out your wildest fantasies of becoming an astronaut or Hollywood megastar than give you a chance to reflect likelier real-world professions.

Which is all well and good, but sometimes we want our characters a little more down-to-earth, and now there's another way to make that a reality. Personally it's always really bugged me that the only manual labour job in the game was two days a week and clearly meant to represent teenagers mowing lawns on the weekend for a bit of extra cash. Even though the handyperson job is still part-time only, I'm looking forward to having a career that reflects the day-to-day of plumbers, electricians, etc. with a bit more veracity.

The Sims 4's new world of Tomarang at night.
Image credit: Electronic Arts

Switch between households much more easily

Speaking of practical matters, there's now an easier way to switch control to a different Sim household without navigating through multiple screens to access the Manage Worlds menu. When clicking on the door to a neighbouring property (including another unit on the same lot) you'll now see an option to quickly switch control to this household.

It's a small but welcome pragmatic addition to the game, and if you're not rushing out to buy For Rent on release, it's still good news for you, because this feature is free for everyone in the expansion's supporting base game update.

Demonstrate a thorough understanding of appropriate hand washing etiquette

Long-time Simmers will know the pain all too well: your Sim finishes eating at the kitchen table and walks halfway across the house to the bathroom to wash the dishes; or, even worse, flushes the toilet and then wanders into the kitchen to wash their hands (ew, just ew, think of all the doorknobs you touched to get to that food preparation area, you reprobate).

This has always been a bit of an issue depending on how you laid out your Sims' houses, dating all the way back to the original game. But in The Sims 4, it's increasingly felt like the AI has been getting actively spiteful about misidentifying the most logical basin.

Well, no more! With the base game update released alongside For Rent, EA have added a simple selection toggle that allows you to assign each sink as belonging to the kitchen or the bathroom. Sims will now only autonomously wash dishes in kitchen sinks and wash their hands in bathroom sinks, though you can still step in and direct them to wash their hands in the kitchen as needed. Or you can go with the wildcard option and leave all sinks on a property undefined if you like living on the edge.

Get a proper brew on at long last with electric kettles

You've got to hand it to the developers of The Sims 4 for making a sincere and concerted effort to gradually expand the game's horizons beyond its Americentric roots. Not only is the new world of Tomarang introduced in the For Rent expansion pack themed around Southeast Asian communities, but the pack finally introduces one kitchen appliance that's been conspicuously absent from the series until now. I refer, of course, to electric kettles!

I can't claim to be a suitable judge of the authenticity of all areas of SEA representation in this pack, but as a Brit I can at least assure you that proper kettles — with interactions allowing you to make tea, coffee, or hot cocoa — are a welcome addition for many international Simmers whose beverage-making options in the real world aren't limited by the USA's infamous low voltage issues. Our Sims' kitchens just took one big step closer to being fully functional from our points of view, and it's little details like this that can go a long way to making the game feel more homey. And after all, isn't that the whole point?

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The Sims 4

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Rebecca Jones avatar

Rebecca Jones

Guides Writer

Rebecca (she/her) is a veteran fan of the life sim genre, and has racked up almost 2,000 hours of play time between The Sims 4 and Animal Crossing: New Horizons alone. She still isn't sure whether that's a badge of honour or a source of shame. She's been in the games industry for over 4 years.

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