Maybe it means something and maybe it doesn't, but White House chief of staff Hamilton Jordan has refused to sign a new two-year lease on the $500-a-month efficiency he rents at the Colonnade.

Instead, Jordan asked his landlord, dentist Donald J. Meyer, to redraft a briefer 12-month renewal that expires at the time of the presidential election in November 1980.

At one point, Jordan was talking to Meyer about buying the apartment because he was so happy in the luxurious cooperative, where so many other VIPs live. He has found the privacy a relief after the spotlight existence he lived in "The Animal House," which he rented previously in Georgetown with other top-ranking Carter Administration bachelors.

"The Animal House" -- which got its nickname from the fraternity-type partying antics that went on there for a while -- attracted so much attention from the media and complaining neighbors that Jordan moved.

For a time the Colonnade looked like the perfect background for his new, more serious image. He even went up to Sotheby Parke Bernet auction galleries in New York to shop for furnishings at their Saturday afternoon sales.

But Jordan didn't leave all his drinking buddies behind in Georgetown. Jordan moved into apartment 1123. Seven floors below in the same building, in apartment 403, resides John Golden, the former Phi Delta Theta roommate from the University of Georgia who seems to have a knack for being with Jordan when he makes headlines.

Golden, deputy treasurer at the Democratic National Committee until three months ago, was with Jordan at Sarsfield's bar in Georgetown last year in the now-famous amoretto-spitting incident. He also was with him at a party at Sergio's restaurant in Los Angeles in 1977 where Jordan is alleged to have sniffed cocaine. Jordan has denied using any illegal drugs.

Golden, for all his publicity, has one of the least-recognized faces in Washington -- there are almost no photographs of him around.

Golden and Jordan found their Colonnade apartments through a mutual friend, multimillionaire builder Nathan Landow, who built the Colonnade and later sold it off. But Landow still has enough clout there to make it a point to take Golden and introduce him to the resident manager and make sure that Golden and Jordan were treated right."

Golden's job at the DNC was to solicit corporate contributions. Landow was a member of the DNC's finance committee and was very helpful. When Robert Straus took a delegation of leading businessmen from allover the country to China this past summer, the White House put Landow's name on the list. Jordan was supposed to go, too, a State Department official says, but couldn't get away at the last minute.

Landow, according to Carter Administration sources, went on the trip hoping to line up "housing construction deals" with the Chinese.

Golden, who used to be known on the bar-hopping circuits as "The New Rev. Ragtime Billy Peaches" before the White House told him to clean up his act, resigned from the DNC on May 31. He has incorporated himself into "The John G. Golden Co.," operating out of his Colonnade apartment.

The corporation is "organized for the purpose of providing consulting services for various persons and organizations within the U.S. and in foreign countries with respect to business ventures including real estate development, investments, marketing, international trade and government relations."

The identity of the company's shareholders is not known, not even by Albany, Ga., attorney William F. Underwood Jr., who is an officer and a member of the board. "I just did it as a favor," he said.

Underwood, a boyhood friend of Golden's says Landow's name is one he hears Golden mention often, but he doesn't know "how it all fits together."

Landow was in line to become the Carter Administration's ambassador to the Netherlands in 1978, before it became known that he was involved in a proposal to build a hotel and gambling casino in Atlantic City with Washington one-time gambling kingpin Joe Nesline as a consultant.

A source close to Landow claims that he has said he expects his increasingly close friendships with Jordan and Golden to guarantee him a diplomatic appointment if Carter is re-elected. Although another source close to Jordan denies any such arrangement.