That is a good question for your son to ask the landlord if the landlord is willing to tell him. If the owner is in the redemption period perhaps your son could purchase it from the bank on a short sale. He may have time to work on getting a mortgage and submitting an offer. A real estate agent who understands this process would be in your best interest.
I hope this information helps. Let me know if you have any further questions regarding this. Best Wishes!
I would have your son speak with a mortgage lender IMMEDIATELY! Have them check his current credit/income to see if he will quailfy for a mortgage now, instead of waiting. There are many mortgage available, for all types of credit. The current owner may be able to negotiate a "short sale" with his current lender that could help him get from under this property. I work with several great lenders that I could recommend. Good luck. I hope everything works out for your son.