If you want to own rental property in PROPERLY zoned areas, you can have as many tenants as you want. Thus, you're making money by running a business. But if you're running your business of rental property in residentially zoned areas, yes, you are subject to certain rules. After all, you are running your business in a residential neighborhood. If you don't want to have to follow certain rules in these residentially zoned neighborhoods, then stay out of these residential neighborhoods and no one will bother you.
These houses that you were using as apartments will be bought by people who may want to start a family and have their kids go to neighborhood schools. Thus no more school closings and building new schools. Get the picture, Ralph?
No illegal search here. Your rights are being protected as well as your tenants. In fact, you won't have to go overseas to find a friend to protect your freedoms. Just call your neighborhood city code enforcement officer. Because that's exactly what they're doing, protecting our freedom to live in neighborhoods and raise a family.