I don't have this information but I know where you can get it. Go downtown to City Hall to the building and planning department and speak to one of the officials there. It's best for you to get correct information from the source. This is a part of due-diligence for those of us who work in Commercial Real Estate .
I am in the process of a condo conversion in a rent controlled apartment. All approvals look fine - now that the market has changed, we may want to rent the 8 units after they are vacated, instead of selling them . Did you find your answer or a statute allowing you to re-rent , the now vacant rent controlled apartments? Thank you in advance.
When you say multi-family, how many units are you considering? You would not be able to make improvements to get the rents up. Your best chance is getting a property vacant (free of tenants). Purchasing a property with market rents. I may be wrong but you might want to look into if the property has section 8 if you can cancel section 8 to get the rents up. Not sure about that. Of coarse the other option is condo conversion which are becoming tougher to do and you may have to end up having a few low income units. You might just want to buy a newer building.
Anything you do needs city approval.
From what I know about rent control, improving a multi-unit property that was built prior to 1978 would not avoid the rent control laws unless you went through the full conversion into condos. The city would have to approve all the plans, etc... and give the final approval after construction. Please confirm this with the building and permit office for the City of Los Angeles.