Can You Move Out of the Barracks Without Being Married?

by | Military Finance | 1 comment

Wondering if you can move out of the barracks without tying the knot? You’re not alone. Many service members seek the freedom and privacy that come with living off-base, but the rules can seem confusing.

Unmarried personnel often face stricter guidelines when it comes to housing options. But, exceptions and specific circumstances can offer a way out. Understanding your eligibility and the criteria involved can make all the difference. Let’s jump into what it takes to secure off-base housing without a marriage certificate.

Understanding Military Housing Rules

Military housing rules define where you live during your service. Clear understanding aids in planning your living arrangements.

What Are the Barracks?

Barracks offer communal living spaces for service members. Each unit might have shared bedrooms, bathrooms, and common areas. Facilities often include a laundry room, game room, and gym. These amenities balance the lack of privacy with convenience. For example, younger enlisted members benefit from the proximity to their duty station.

Who Is Required to Live in Barracks?

Unmarried junior enlisted personnel must reside in the barracks. This requirement typically applies to E-1 to E-4 ranks. Exceptions exist, such as high-ranking service members or those with special circumstances. If you get promoted to E-5 or above, you might qualify for off-base housing. But, each branch of the military has specific policies, so check your branch’s regulations to understand eligibility better.

Can You Move Out of the Barracks Without Being Married?

Yes, you can move out of the barracks without being married. But, specific conditions and regulations come into play.

Factors Affecting Eligibility to Move Out

Several factors determine if you can move out of the barracks as an unmarried service member. Key considerations include:

  1. Rank: Junior enlisted personnel up to E-4 usually live in the barracks. But, promotions to E-5 or higher often provide eligibility for off-base housing.
  2. Military Branch and Unit Policies: Each branch (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard) has distinct policies, and individual commands may enforce additional rules.
  3. Special Circumstances: Certain conditions like medical needs, humanitarian cases, or extended leave periods may allow exceptions.

Procedures to Request Moving Out

To request to move out, follow these procedures:

  1. Check Eligibility and Rules: Review your branch’s housing policies and verify with your unit’s housing office.
  2. Submit a Request: Fill out the necessary paperwork, which typically includes a Housing Application and any supporting documentation.
  3. Approval Process: Your request undergoes evaluation by the chain of command. Approval depends on eligibility criteria and housing availability.
  4. Receive Orders for Off-Base Housing: Upon approval, you receive orders outlining your new off-base residence details.

Through understanding these factors and procedures, you can navigate the path toward off-base living as an unmarried service member.

Alternatives to Living in the Barracks

Unmarried service members often seek more flexibility and comfort than what barracks offer. Fortunately, several alternatives exist for those looking to break away from the typical barracks lifestyle.

On-Base Housing Options

On-base housing options provide proximity to work and military support services. Eligible service members can apply for Family Housing even if they’re not married, under specific circumstances. Military regulations, varying by branch, often allow single-parent service members, unaccompanied spouses of deployed personnel, and those with medical needs to qualify. These housing units typically offer more privacy and amenities compared to barracks, such as individual kitchens and living spaces.

Off-Base Living Arrangements

Off-base living arrangements offer more personal freedom and immersion in civilian life. Service members can live off-base by obtaining permission from their chain of command and meeting rank requirements. Enlisted personnel eligible for Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) can use these funds to rent apartments or houses. Also, living off-base can provide financial benefits, such as potentially lower living costs and the ability to choose housing that suits their lifestyle. Since living off-base requires more self-sufficiency in managing everyday tasks without immediate military support, it’s essential to weigh the benefits and responsibilities.

Financial Implications of Moving Out

Moving out of the barracks as an unmarried service member presents several financial considerations. You’ll need to navigate various costs and allowances when transitioning to off-base housing.

Costs Associated With Off-Base Housing

You’ll encounter several direct costs when moving off-base. Rent usually takes the most significant chunk. Depending on your location, expect to pay anywhere from $800 to $2000 per month. Other expenses include utilities (electricity, water, internet), often totaling $150 to $300 monthly.

Furnishing your new place is another expense. Basic furniture and household items might set you back an initial cost of $1,000 to $3,000. Transportation costs may also increase due to commuting to and from the base, including fuel, maintenance, and possibly a higher insurance premium.

Military Housing Allowances

The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) can substantially offset your off-base living costs. BAH rates vary based on location, rank, and if you have dependents. For instance, an E-5 stationed in San Diego might receive $2,700 monthly, whereas an E-5 in Fort Bragg might get around $1,500.

While BAH helps, it might not cover all expenses, depending on your spending habits. Careful budgeting ensures you stay within means. Remember, moving off-base trades immediate military support for financial responsibility and independence. So, weigh these financial factors thoroughly before making the decision.


Moving out of the barracks without being married offers increased freedom and privacy but comes with its own set of challenges. Understanding the eligibility criteria and the financial implications is crucial for making an well-informed choice. The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) can provide significant support, yet you’ll need to budget carefully to manage additional costs like rent and utilities. Balancing military support with financial independence requires thoughtful planning but can lead to a more personalized living experience that suits your needs.


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