Researches indicate that the lease as a form of economic activity has been well-known even 2000 years BC. Clay tablets, found in the ancient Sumerian town of Ur, contain reports for farm labor implements, lands, water sources, bullocks and other animal, all used on lease. Other ancient civilizations, including the Greek, the Roman, the Egyptian, regarded the lease as an attractive, affordable and, eventually, the only possible way to trade equipment, land and domestic animals.
The ancient Phoenicians, famous as excellent sailors and dealers, took vessels on lease, which was, in its economic and legal essence, comparable to the classic form of contemporary leasing. A great number of periodic lease contracts ensured the renting of vessels and crews. In modern days these bargains correspond to the so called “wet leasing”.
Historical records testify that on lease have been used not only various kinds of farm instruments and craftsmen equipment, but also military machinery and facilities. For example, in 1066 William the Conqueror took on lease ships from the Norman ship masters, with the intent to conquer the British Isles. There were bargains similar to the lease in Venice, again in the XIth century. The Venetians let out on lease to the traders very expensive for that time anchors. Upon their return from the voyage, the traders gave back the anchors to the ship masters, who let out the commodity on lease again. The first registered lease contract is from the beginning of the XIII century, when members of the craft-guild in the USA took on lease horses, caravans and coaches.
The concept of “leasing” was used for the first time in 1877, when the phone company “BEL” decided not to sell, but to let out on lease its telephones - in other words, to deliver the equipment in the office or the home of its customers against lease payments. In the beginning of the XX century, with the economic progress and the expanded production of goods and equipment in Europe and in the USA, the number and the amount of goods and loads let out on lease increased. The railway companies used the fact that an increasing number of load forwarders did not want to be monopolists in possessing and using the carriages, and developed a system for short-term use of the equipment. Short-term contracts were offered to determine a plan – schedule of payment by the customer, who returned the carriages to the owner at the end of the specified period so that the latter may store and let them out on lease again. The operating lease, i.e. the rent, originated in this way.
Before long, filling the demand which had emerged in the course of time and responding to the new economic circumstances, lease companies gradually emerged and established themselves on the market.

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