Find Your Place In The World

Essence Communities is the wholly owned Build to Rent (BTR) management brand of Australia’s largest manager of student accommodation – UniLodge.

Essence Communities leverages UniLodge’s unrivalled expertise and scale in intensive residential property management services. With over 70 properties in every state of mainland Australia and in the New Zealand cities of Auckland and Wellington, the group has over 23 years of experience managing large-scale BTR properties and student communities.

  • Managed Beds
  • Employed Staff
  • Lodges
  • Countries

Our Team

Peter Bates

Peter Bates

Executive Chairman

Peter Bates joined UniLodge in September 2006 as the Chief Executive Officer. In July 2018, Peter was appointed the role of Executive Chairman to focus on servicing UniLodge’s key partners, growth strategies and new business initiatives.

In the decade since he joined UniLodge, with his expertise in project management, project delivery, business management and finance has seen him oversee growth of the UniLodge portfolio from 3,500 beds to over 20,000 beds under management. A civil engineer by profession, Peter graduated from the University of Queensland.

He started his career with the construction arm of Lend Lease, Civil & Civic in 1987 in Brisbane and has enjoyed a 19 year career with Lend Lease. Peter's time with Lend Lease took him to many locations in Australia and into Asia, where he spent nine years in Bangkok, Singapore and Shanghai in senior management roles.

Tomas Johnsson

Tomas Johnsson

Chief Executive Officer

Tomas Johnsson joined UniLodge in September 2018 as the Chief Executive Officer. He has over 25 years’ experience in senior management roles in the tourism industry specialising in accommodation. Tomas has recently been appointed to the role of Industry Advancement Committee Chair for the Asia-Pacific Student Accommodation Association.

Prior to joining UniLodge, Tomas was the Chief Operating Officer of the Mantra Group, and was responsible for Operations, Sales, Marketing, Revenue, Distribution and Digital functions across the Group. Tomas has also held senior management roles with General Property Trust including Sheraton Four Points Darling Harbour, Ayers Rock Resort and Voyages Resorts, as well as Mirvac and Rydges Hotels.

Tomas successfully completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2016 and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.