I have two rental properties, a single family residence and an apartment building in California.
Last year, my tenant in the SFR broke his lease about three months in (without my consent) and moved to the opposite coast. The lease expired around June of 2020. Because it was winter (no one wants to move during the winter holidays) and later the pandemic, I was unable to find a new tenant. I am out about $35,000 in unpaid rent and suing the guy is pointless because my sources tell me he is broke.
Similarly, I have a tenant in the apartment building who is unemployed because of the pandemic and (as of now) is $5,000 behind in their rent. Suing is pointless because they are broke and eviction is prohibited by my state's current Pandemic laws.
When I do my 2020 returns, can I 1099 these folks for the money they owe and write this off as unpaid debts?