For tenants living in Turkey 2200 years ago, rental agreements really were carved in stone.
Archaeologists have discovered what may be one of the world's oldest tenancy contracts – etched into a five feet long slab of marble.
It is inscribed with 58 lines of text in ancient Greek that spell out in excruciating detail the terms for renting out a property in the city of Teos in Anatolia, Turkey.
The stone slab was discovered just to the west of the ruins of the Temple of Dionsys – the ancient Greek god of wine – during excavations there.
Experts say the unusual stone tablet sheds fresh light on the legal system and the social structure in the ancient city. It details how a property within the gymnasium of Teos were left to members of the gymnasium – described as Neos, the Ancient Greek for youth or new - when a wealthy citizen of the city died.
The inscription, which bears the names of six city elders who acted as witnesses to the document, also details specific clauses that the tenants have to stick to. It says the owners should be allowed access to the religious altar at the site for three days a year.
This may have been a convenient tax dodge as the state collected tax on lands at the time unless it was defined as 'holy'. The agreement also sets out a series of penalties if the tenants damage the property or fail to maintain the land.
Teos was one of the most important cities in Hellenistic Turkey forming one of the 12 cities within tie Ionian League - a powerful alliance of city states in the region. It was initially settled in around 1,000BC, but by around 500BC it was a flourishing seaport.
The bottom-line is: don’t be a princess next time your landlord comes knocking. People had to deal with it even 2200 years back!