Purpose: To explore the roles of proportion of social rented housing in the neighbourhood (‘neighbourhood social housing’), own housing being socially rented, and their interaction in early trajectories of emotional, conduct and hyperactivity symptoms. We tested three pathways of effects: family stress and maternal psychological distress, low quality parenting practices, and peer problems. Methods: We used data from 9,850 Millennium Cohort Study families who lived in England when the cohort children were aged 3. Children’s emotional, conduct and hyperactivity problems were measured at ages 3, 5 and 7. Results: Even after accounting for own social housing, neighbourhood social housing was related to all problems and their trajectories. Its association with conduct problems and hyperactivity was explained by selection. Selection also explained the effect of the interaction between neighbourhood and own social housing on hyperactivity, but not why children of social renter families living in neighbourhoods with lower concentrations of social housing followed a rising trajectory of emotional problems. The effects of own social housing, neighbourhood social housing and their interaction on emotional problems were robust. Peer problems explained the association of own social housing with hyperactivity. Conclusions: Neither selection nor the pathways we tested explained the association of own social housing with conduct problems, the association of neighbourhood social housing with their growth, or the association of neighbourhood social housing, own social housing and their interaction with emotional problems. Children of social renter families in neighbourhoods with a low concentration of social renters are particularly vulnerable to emotional problems.