In California, landlords cannot retain security deposits at the end of tenancy in bad faith. If a landlord provides an itemized statement of deductions but fails to disclose that it was written by a family member (who made them outrageously high), would it result in punitive damages?
A landlord may have an agent, whether an employee or a family member, prepare an itemized statement of deductions on the landlord's behalf. The landlord is just as responsible for its contents as if the landlord had prepared it personally, and the tenant need not know or care who actually prepared it. If it is knowingly excessive, that may constitute bad faith no matter who prepared it. The tenant's options for challenging the statement of deductions are not changed based who exactly prepared the list.